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Adolfo B 




Li^ THE 

^^^ I F E OF P I Z A R R 














THINK that some further explanation 
should be given of the motives which 
have led to the publication, separately, 
of the lives of those men who were foremost among 
the early discoverers and conquerors of the New 
World, and whose deeds are, for the most part, 
narrated in '' the Spanish Conquest in America." 
It has been justly asked. Why does the author 
break up his History in this way ? The answer 
is as follows: — 

That History was written with a practical 
object. The author hoped that the plans which 
had been adopted by the greatest Spanish states- 
men for gradually reducing and ultimately obli- 
terating the evil of slavery, would be of service 


in the United States. He felt, as every English- 
man, who knows anything of the subject, must 
feel, that the British nation, having introduced 
slavery into its American Colonies, we all were 
bound to further in any way we could the abolition 
of that enormous evil. At the time when " The 
Spanish Conquest in America " was written, there 
was no immediate prospect of the solution of this 
great question of slavery by a civil war. In the 
course of events that History has become, to a 
certain extent, obsolete. Several persons sug- 
gested to the author that it would be well to 
rescue from oblivion certain portions of it. This 
idea pleased him mainly because he thought that 
in this way the labours and sufferings of several 
most notable men in history might be put into a 
readable form for the world ; and amongst them 
more especially those of one of the most remark- 
able men in history. He alludes to the labours 
and sufferings of the " Apostle of the Indies," 
Las Casas. 

In any history of slavery Las Casas must oc- 
cupy a prominent part. The author of '^ The 
Spanish Conquest in America " had been obliged 


to study the life of that great man with care and 
minuteness. He thought that it would be an 
especial pity if his researches into the life of 
Las Casas should be lost^ because the history 
which embodied them had ceased to apply di- 
rectly to the present state of the world. The 
story of the life of a man like Las Casas is of 
perennial usefulness. The subjects for the en- 
deavours of great men may change ; but the spirit 
in which these endeavours should be undertaken 
remains unchanged. There is no man, however 
great the cause which he advocates, or indeed 
however small it may be, so that it be one con- 
nected with the public welfare, who may not derive 
something either to instruct, to guide, or to encou- 
rage him, in reading the life of Las Casas. I know 
that it may be said that a biographer is apt to 
become a blind admirer ; but I am sure that the 
admiration is not in this case misplaced. 

The same thing that has been said of Las 
Casas may be said, in a lower degree, of other 
heroes who appear in the great tragedy of 
the Spanish Conquest in America. Columbus, 
Cortes, Pizarro, Vasco Nunez, were all typical 

viii PREFACE. 

men. On this account it seemed desirable that 
the knowledge which had been gained by an his- 
torian respecting these characters — that historian 
having written from a peculiar point of view — 
should not be altogether lost to the world because 
the course of events had happily prevented the 
history from being of that service which the author 
had intended it to be in practical life, and espe- 
cially in the national life of our brethren in 


HIS life of Pizarro, like those which 
have been recently published of Colum- 
bus and Las Casas, has been taken 
mainly from my history of the Spanish Conquest 
in America. 

It has been formed into a biographical narrative 
by the Rev. F. Watkins^ by bringing together 
the facts about Pizarro, which lay scattered 
over a long history, and condensing them into a 

Amongst discoverers Columbus holds the first 
place : and Las Casas, Pizarro, and Cortes were 
also men who may be considered representa- 
tive men in the several vocations in which they 

Pizarro, for instance, affords the highest type 


of a common soldier. Brave^ faithful, enduring, 
apt in all the exercises and the duties of his calling, 
he was the very man to form one of a band of in- 
vincibles, who would be equally great whether in 
advance or in retreat, whether as besiegers or be- 
sieged — not to be daunted by the extremes of 
peril or of hardship, nor for a moment neglecting 
discipline^^iir-the midst of unwont^d-4^xury and 

There was alaa--«ometftmg more in Pizarro, 
Kising from the humblest origin without a^y 
education, he is never pretentious ; when us 
comes to command, he is not elated by power ;\ 
when he gains the highest station, he fills it 
as if he had been born to it. He is always 
calm, polite, dignified. So much does he bear 
himself like one who had been born in the 
purple, that one forgets, and one sees that 
those around him forgot, that my " Lord Go- 
vernor " was an utterly ignorant man, who could 
not even write his own name. The Spaniards of 
that age were not a people who by any means 
undervalued noble birth or learning; but they 
had also a keen appreciation of what constitutes 
greatness in a man, and could obey and eveii 


verence one who was neither an hidalgo, nor had 
the slightest pretence to culture. 

There were, however, two causes affecting 
Spaniards (not peculiar to that generation only) 
which greatly conduced to such a result. The 
first is, that every Spaniard, whatever may be his 
birth, is somewhat of a gentleman, and is not 
ashamed of his position in life, whatever that 
position may be. It always seems as if he was 
too proud to wish to be anything else than he is, 
much more, to put on the appearance of being 
anything else. Hence he is never vulgar, for all 
vulgarity may be described as an endeavour to 
appear to be something different from what we 

The second cause is this,— namely, that though 
there are great differences in the various dialects 
spoken in Spain, there is not one dialect for the 
higher classes and another for the lower; and there- 
fore a Spaniard may be very poorly educated, and 
yet speak a language which will not in any way 
affront the ears of his more refined fellow-country- 
man. This was, and is, a signal advantage for 
men like Pizarro, as, when they attain to high 
station, their language is not necessarily unbe- 


cominsr that station. That this statement is true 
as regards the present case^ is manifest from 
the fact that the historians and biographers of the 
period of the Conquest, when quoting the words 
of Pizarro, and of others like him, whose rise in 
life had been very great, never comment upon 
the language used by these brave men as being 
low, vulgar, or misplaced. 

Pizarro was one of those persons, who, if his 
lot had been cast in a settled State, and in unad- 
venturous times, would never have risen to any 
conspicuous position. Whether as a soldier, a 
merchant, a lawyer, or an agriculturist, he would 
have been a good, steady, faithful lieutenajit, but 
would have been out of place except as second in 

Placed, however, in such situations as he occu- 
pied in the New World — being one in a small 
band of adventurous men, surrounded by tens of 
thousands of enemies — passing through countries 
untraversed before by any European, and hav- 
ing daily to encounter everything that could be 
imagined that was new and hostile — the humble 
good qualities which he possessed in such a re- 
markable degree, the qualities of faithfulness, re- 


soluteness, endurance, and dogged courage, na- 
turally carried him up to the high rank which 
he has ever occupied as one of the foremost con- 
querors of the New World. 

An exemplary humanity, a keen solicitude for 
the conquered people, any care for the preservation 
of works of art and ancient buildings, or wondrous 
skill in policy, were things not to be expected 
from a man of his nature and breeding. If he 
had been taught them, no man would have car- 
ried them more resolutely into action. Had he 
been, for instance, a disciple of Las Casas, he 
might have been the second in command among 
the hosts of the philanthropists ; but as it was, he 
has left a name, not without just and high re- 
nown, but upon which there are sad stains of 
cruelty and rapine. 

He perished permaturely, as many people do fall 
in this life, more on account of his good qualities 
than of his errors and his faults. He was remark- 
ably clement, as clement as Julius Caesar — that 
is to his own countrymen. He was singularly 
unsuspicious — that is, as regards those fellow- 
countrymen. The first man to suspect an am- 
buscade of Indians, or any stratagem of warfare 


he was the last man to believe in the existence 
of any conspiracy of his fellow-countrymen 
against himself — against one who, as he knew., 
was always anxious to maintain their power and 
increase their welfare. 

The favour, too, which he showed his brothers, 
who were men of the highest ability, and of cul- 
ture very superior to his own, was a touching 
proof of the modesty and humility of his character. 
He knew that they were very superior to him, 
except, indeed, in the gifts of prudence and mo- 
deration, and he was inclined to give them the 
weio-ht in g-overnment which he thouo:ht belono:ed 
to them rather than to himself. 

Conspiracies are mostly very dnimatic things; 
but there is not any conspiracy more dramatic 
than that which led to the death of Pizarro. 
From the first you feel, even when ignorant of 
the result, that a man so confiding as Pizarro was, 
so confident in the goodness of his cause, merely 
because it was good, is meant to be a victim. 
There are few scenes in history more touching 
than that which took place in the interview be- 
tween Pizarro and Juan de Eada, the chief of the 
conspirators; and never do Pizarro's best quali- 


ties — namely, clemency, candour, truthfulness, 
and reliance upon justice, shine forth more con- 
spicuously than in that interview. 

After all, it must be acknowledged that Pizarro 
was not one of the least admirable of those men 
who have earned a great, though sorrowful re- 
nown, from having taken a leading part in the 
Spanish Conquest in America. 

In judging the part such men as Pizarro played 
in these events we must not forget the stern 
character of the times they lived in, and their 
complete and necessary dependence, in their isola- 
tion, upon their own firmness and determination. 
In fact, their training and surrounding circum- 
stances all tended towards the development of 
severity and tyranny, that is as regards the con- 
quered people ; and we can hardly wonder that 
so few of them have come forth with a fame 
that after-ages can thoroughly venerate or love. 



Chapter I. 

Brothers — No Possessions — No Educa- 
tion — Is Ojeda\s Lieutenant — Left by 
him at San Sebastian ...... 1 

Chapter II. 

Ojeda — His treacherous Capture of Caonabo — Obtains 
the Government of Uraba — Joins with Nicuesa — 
Founds San Sebastian — Is in great difficulties — 
Leaves Pizarro there as his Lieutenant — Loses his 
Power — Dies a Monk 5 

Chapter III. 

Pizarro in the Neighbourhood of the Pacific — Takes 
his men away from San Sebastian — Meets Enciso, 
Ojeda's Partner — Vasco Nunez — The Expedition 
returns to San Sebastian — Nicuesa — Nicuesa 
turned adrift — Vasco Nuiiez takes the Command 16 

xviii CONTENTS. 

Chapter IV. 


Vasco Nunez takes the command — Sends away Enciso 
— The Expedition is nearly failing — The Cacique 
Careta — Vasco Nunez loves his daughter — The 
Cacique Comogre — Comogre's son — The young 
man's speech — Tidings of the Pacific and rich 
nations southwards — Pizarro listens eagerly— The 
return to Darien — Messengers are sent to the 
Court of Spain — Enciso's enmity to Vasco Nunez 
— Rumour of a Governor for Darien — Vasco Nunez 
determines to discover the Pacific — First sight of 
it — Pizarro sent to discover the shortest way to 
the coast — Pearl-fishing — Tidings of the riches of 
Peru — They return to Darien- — A messenger is 
sent to the Court of Spain 35 

Chapter V. 

Pedrarias appointed Governor of Darien — His character 
— The eagerness of men to come out with him — 
The return of Enciso — The old colonists deliberate 
how they shall receive the Governor — Vasco Nunez 
recommends a welcome reception — Vasco Nunez's 
audiencia — He is put into confinement, but after- 
wards released — Darien unhealthy — Seven hun- 
dred of the new colonists die — Pedrarias begins to 
send out expeditions — Pizarro leaves Vasco 
Nunez's faction — Goes out with Gaspar de Morales 
as second in command — The cruelties committed — 
All these expeditions unsuccessful — The melting- 
house shut up — Reflections . . .60 


Chapter VI. 

Vasco Nunez restless — sends for men on his own 
account — The Governor is angry — Vasco Nunez 
receives the title of Adelantado from the Court of 
Spain — is reconciled to the Governor, espouses his 
daughter — is sent by the Governor to Ada to 
build ships for the Sea of the South — carries the 
materials across the isthmus — is suspected by the 
Governor — Pizarro is sent to arrest him — Vasco 
Nunez is tried, convicted of high treason, and 
executed . ...... 77 


Chapter I. 

Pedrarias uses Vasco Nuiiez's ships — Espinosa sent out 
— Gil Gongalez — The Spice Islands — Lope de 
Sosa dies — Pizarro takes to cattle farming — Al- 
magro his partner — Nicaragua — Panama — Her- 
nandez de Cordova sent against Gil Gongalez — 
Pascual de Andagoya's Expedition towards Peru — 
Juan de Basarto is allowed to make a voyage 
towards Peru — Dies — Pizarro and Almagro come 
forward — The triumvirate . . . .93 

Chapter II. 

Pizarro sets sail — his difficulties — is wounded — recom- 
mences his voyage — his dispute with Almagro — 
some of his men leave him — his sufferings — suc- 
cour comes — Tumbez — he receives two young 
Indians — returns to Panama . . . .102 


Chapter III. 


Pizarro goes to the Spanish Court — Returns to Panama 
Starts for the Conquest of Peru — Is again sur- 
rounded with difficulties — Founds the town of 
San Miguel . , 128 

Chapter IV. 

The Royal Family of Peru — Atahuallpa — Pizarro 
marches from San Miguel to Cassamarca — Pro- 
jected interview between Pizarro and Atahuallpa 
— Rout of the Peruvians and capture of the Inca. 139 

Chapter V. 

Agreement for Atahuallpa's Ransom — Fernando Pi- 
zarro's Journey to the Temple of Pachacamac — 
Messengers sent to Cusco — Arrival of Almagro at 
the Camp of Cassamarca . . . . .180 

Chapter YI. 

Guascar Inca's Fate — Atahuallpa's Trial — Atahu- 
allpa's Execution . . . . . .192 

CONTENTS. ^ xxi 


Chapter I. 

The Feud between the Pizarros and the Almagros — 
Alvarado's Entrance into Peru — Almagro pro- 
ceeds to conquer Chili — Fernando Pizarro takes 
the Command at Cusco . . . . .213 

Chapter II. 

Fernando Pizarro returns from Spain — Takes the 
Command at Cusco — Flight and Rebellion of the 
Inca Manco — Description of Cusco . . . 225 

Chapter III. 

The Siege of Cusco by the Revolted Peruvians . . 236 

Chapter IV. 

Almagro returns from Chili, claims Cusco — Fernando 
Pizarro negotiates with him — Almagro treacher- 
ously enters Cusco by night — Imprisons the bro- 
thers Pizarro, and defeats Francisco Pizarro's com- 
mander, Alonzo de Alvarado . , . „ 263 


Chapter V. 

Negotiations between the Marquis and the Mariscal 
respecting the Boundaries of their Governments — 
The Renewal of Hostilities — Fernando Pizarro 
takes the Command of his Brother's Army . .277 

Chapter VI. 

Fernando Pizarro marches to Cusco — The Battle of 
Salinas — The Execution of the Mariscal Almagro 
— Return of Fernando Pizarro to Spain . . 290 

Chapter VII. 

The Marquis and the Men of Chili — Gonzalo Pizarro 
discovers the Amazon — The Conspiracy of Alma- 
gro's Friends — The Marquis Pizarro is murdered 
by the Men of Chili 306 




Francisco Pizarro — His Parentage and Education- 
Youth — The first Mention of him in History. 


FRANCISCO PIZ AEEO,thediscoverer 
and conqueror of Peru, was the natural 
son of Gonzalo Pizarro, an officer who 
greatly distinguished himself in the Italian Wars 
under the " Great Captain," * and who was of an 
ancient and wealthy family of Truxillo, in the 
province of Estremadura. Francisco's mother 
was also of a noble family of Truxillo ; her name 
was Francisca Gonzales. 

Francisco Pizarro had four brothers — Fernando, 

* Gonzalo, Fernandez, de Cordoba. 


Gonzalo, Juan, and Martin. Of these Fernando 
alone was legitimate. They all seetn to have been 
in possession of some landed property in Spain ; 
for when they joined their brother Francisco to 
assist him in his conquest of Peru, it is said that 
Juan, Gonzalo, and Martin sold their estates. 
Francisco, however, does not seem to have been 
so well off ; for his sword and his cloak w ere the 
only possessions with which he set forth to se ek 
^ his fortune in^e NewJWorld. 

There is a great deal of uncertainty as to the 
date of Francisco Pizarro's birth ; but according 
to Quintana, Gomara, and other historians, he 

-^ was born at Truxillo, in the year 1470 The in — 

/ formation attending his birth being so vague it is 

/ not remarkable that we find many fables respecting 

/ it ; one of them to the effect that he was left by 

/ his parents on the steps of a church, where he was 

L found being nourished by a sow. 

We know very little concerning his early years, 
except that his education appea rs to have been 
totally neglected, as he co uld neither read nor 
write, and, from what we can gather as to the 
youth of this embryo discoverer, some part of his 
childhood was passed in fulfilling t he igno ble 

he I 


office of^ swinplifirrl Tb<^^^ is little doubt that 
he served, as a mere lad, with his father in the 
Italian wars. Even in his younger days, when 
placed in subordinate positions, he was never 
heard of as^aj; ebellious^ or contentious m an ; but 
jn\ tjifi r^^tr^T^y, ^iS T ga ther, showed him gjaI£Jii 
b e laborious, cautious, obedient, much-enduring 
and faithful. Whatever he did and accomplished 
was done by his own dogged perseverance, and 
when once he had undertaken an enterprize, he 
would go through with it, whatever the conse 

quences. ,,^ 

When the prize which he had for years set his 
mind upon seemed about to be grasped by others, 
he quietly withdrew, until their too impetuous 
eagerness had ruined them; and then stepped 
forward to carry out what they had failed in. It 
was most unfortunate, indeed, for the world that 
thi s perseverance o f his was so great ; for, had the 
conquest of Peru been postponed but a few years, 
it would probably have met with a more consoli- 
dated state of affairs in that kingdom, and, there- 
fore, ultimately, have been a more effective con- 
quest. " 
We then have nothing to relate concerning 


him of any importance till the year 1510, when 
Ojeda (one of Columbus's followers in his second 
voyage to the Terra Firma) having obtained the 
government of the province of Uraba and founded 
the town of San Sebastian, left Francisco Pizarro 
there in the command of his forces, as lieutenant, 
under circumstances of no ordinary kind. 
/ At this time Francisco Pizarro was forty years 
old. What he had gone through since his arrival 
in the New World may be best gathered by con- 
sidering what is known of Ojeda, his commander; 
for the circumstances in which Ojeda left him at 
San Sebastian were such as to prove that it would 
have been the height of madness and thoughtless- 
ness in any commander to have deserted his men, 
unless he knew he was leaving them under the 
/ care of some well-known, well-tried, and tr ust- 
[_ \v9j:thy4ietttenant. ^"^ 

J My readers will see that, in this life of Pizarro, 
' much matter has been introduced concerning the 
commanders and discoverers with whom, and 
under whom he served. This has been found to 
be absolutely necessary, for the life of Pizarro is 
so inseparably connected with that of such men as 
Ojeda, Pedrarias, and Vasco Nunez, that it was 


impossible fully and faithfully to relate his deeds, 
without including in my narrative much that re- 
lates to those men with whom he was so closely 
associated, and a great portion of whose lives and 
adventures was so entwined with his, that, if 
omitted, this biography would have been but a 
bald and incomplete picture of Pizarro's under- 

l^akings and surroundings. 1 

Columbus, Cortez, and Vasco Nunez were from 
the first leaders in the great expeditions and dis- 
coveries which are connected with their names; 
whereas Pizarro, rising^ from the ranks, performed 
^ part well-deserving of commemoration in expe- 

ditions and discoveries which are not ordinarily 

associated with his name. 


Ojeda — His treacherous Capture of Caonaho — Obtains the 
Government of Urahd — Joins with Nicuesa — Founds San 
Sebastian — Is in great difficulties — Leaves Pizarro there 
as his Lieutenant — Loses his Power — Dies a Monk, 

^HIS Ojeda had sailed with Columbus 
on his second voyage from Spain to 
the New World. His personal strength 
was immense. Placing himself at the bottom of 
the GIralda, at Seville, he could throw an orange 
to the top, a height of two hundred and fifty feet. 
In early life, in the presence of Queen Isabella, 
he had walked out and back on a plank stretched 
out from the top of the GIralda. Indeed, Co- 
lumbus chose him out of all his men to perform a 
deed requiring no small amount of daring, resolu- 
tion, and unscrupulousness. The admiral, upon 
his second arrival at Hispaniola, found a cacique 
— Caonabo, who in former days had put to death 


the garrison at La Navidad — preparing to attack 
that of St. Thomas ; and, indeed, but for his op- 
portune arrival, threatening to sweep away the 
whole of the Spanish settlements in the island. 
A battle was fought, and the Spaniards were 
victorious. A horrible carnage ensued upon the 
flight of the Indians ; but Caonabo, being absent 
from the battle, besieging the fortress of St. 
Thomas, remained untaken. The admiral re- 
solved to secure his person by treachery. 

The story,* which was current in the colonies, 
of the manner in which Ojeda captured the reso- 
lute Indian chief, is this : Ojeda carried with 
him gyves and manacles, the latter of the kind 
called by the Spaniards, somewhat satirically, 
esposas (wives), and all made of brass (laton) 
or steel, finely wrought and highly polished. 
The metals of Spain were prized by the Indians 
in the same way, that the gold of the Indies was 
by the Spaniards. Moreover, among the Indians 
there was a strange rumour of talking brass, that 

* The learned Muiios considers this story as a legend. 
(See the prologue to his history). I do not know why it 
should be so considered. 


arose from their listening to the church-bell at 
Isabella, which, summoning the Spaniards to 
mass, was thought by the simple Indians to con- 
verse with them. Indeed, the natives of Hispa- 
niola held the Spanish metals in such estimation, 
that they applied to them an Indian word, Turey^ 
which seems to have signified ^^ anything that de- 
scends from heaven." When, therefore, Ojeda 
brought these ornaments to Caonabo, and told 
him they were Biscayan Turey, and that they were 
a great present from the admiral, and he would 
show them how to put them on; and that Caonabo 
should set himself on Ojeda's horse, and be shown 
to his admiring subjects, as, Ojeda said, the kings 
of Spain were wont to show themselves to theirs, 
the incautious Indian is said to have fallen en- 
tirely into the trap. Going wuth Ojeda, accom- 
panied by only a small escort, to a river a short 
distance from his main encampment, Caonabo, 
after performing ablutions, suffered the crafty 
young Spaniard to put ^^ the heaven descended " 
fetters on him, and to set him upon the horse. 
Ojeda himself got up behind the Indian prince, 
and then — whirling a few times round, like a 
pigeon before it takes its determined flight, making 


the followers of Caonabo imagine that this was 
but display, they all the while keeping at a re- 
spectful distance from the horse, an animal they 
much dreaded — Ojeda darted off, and, after great 
fatigues, now keeping to the main track, now 
traversing the woods in order to evade pursuit, 
brought Caonabo bound into the presence of 
Columbus. This, however, took place sixteen 
years before the time when Ojeda left Francisco 
Pizarro as his lieutenant to stave off, as best 
he could, the war, pestilence, and famine, that 
were more than decimating his men at San 

Columbus, in his first two voyages, had only 
discovered the islands in front of the mainland of 
America. But in his third voyage, in the year 
1498, he reached the mainland, and touched at 
Paria. Ojeda probably was with him ; for the 
next year, having been aided by a knowledge of 
the admiral's route, he accomplished a somewhat 
similar voyage on his own account, having on 
board that personage, who makes a dubious figure 
in the history of the New World — Amerigo Ves- 
pucci, and a very celebrated pilot of that time, 
called Juan de la Cosa. Another voyage was 


made about the same time to these parts by 
Eodrigo de Bastidas, with the same Juan de la 
Cosa for pilot ; and this was remarkable for the 
presence of the renowned Vasco Nunez ; and the 
knowledge this man gained there had the greatest 
influence on the fortunes of his varied and event- 
ful life, and indirectly on that of Francisco 
Pizarro. During all this time, Francisco Pizarro 
— nobody thinking much of him — was doing the 
work of a second-rate soldier In a stern, creditable 

Ojeda, soon after this, favoured by Bishop 
Fonseca,* obtained the appointment to the govern- 
ment of the province of Uraba, and took with 
him Francisco Pizarro, as his lieutenant. A man, 
of good birth, a good speaker, and a good musi- 
cian, of the name of Nicuesa, obtained the adja- 
cent government of Veragua. The two govern- 
ments comprised the whole of the Isthmus of 
Darien, and a large extent of country to the east 
and north-west. Ojeda was poor, but he was 
aided in furnishing his expedition by the cele- 

* Bishop of Burgos, and afterwards President of the 
Council for the Indies. 


brated pilot, Juan de la Cosa, and by a lawyer, 
named Martin Fernandez d'Enciso. Ojeda sailed 
for his province, and, entering the port of Car- 
thagena, began to make war upon the Indians. 
He marched upon a large Indian town, called 
Turbaco, which he found deserted. He pursued 
the fugitive Indians, and, while doing so, his men 
spread themselves over the country in a disorderly 
manner. The Indians, seeing this disorder, col- 
lected together, and came down suddenly upon 
the Spaniards, who, in their turn, had to become 
the fugitives, and to take refuge in a fort con- 
structed hastily of palisades. The Indians gave the 
Spaniards no rest, and, having poisoned arrows, 
pressed the advantage they had gained with so 
much vigour, that they succeeded in putting all the 
Spaniards to death, to the number of seventy or 
a hundred, with the exception of Ojeda and one 

His fleet, ignorant of what had befallen their 
chief, was quietly coasting along. At last, 
however, gaining intelligence of what had hap- 
pened, his men went to seek him, and found him 
almost speechless with hunger, his sword in his 
hand, and the marks, it is said, of three hun- 


dred arrows In his shield. They made a fire, 
warmed, and fed him. As he recovered, and 
while he was relating his adventures to the men, 
Nicuesa's fleet hove in sight. The contest be- 
tween these two governors, while they were at 
St. Domingo, having been carried on in the most 
offensive and personal manner, Ojeda might well 
expect ill-treatment from Nicuesa, or at least con- 
tempt; but Nicuesa was angry at anybody ima- 
gining that he could take advantage of his present 
superiority to punish former affronts, and assured 
the men he would be a brother to Ojeda, and, upon 
his being produced, received him most kindly. 

The two governors then joined company, and 
went with four hundred men to seek for Juan de 
la Cosa, and to chastize the Indians. No quarter 
was given. They fell upon Turbaco, committed 
Incredible slaughter, burning the Indians in their 
cottages, and slaying men, women, and children. 
Then, having discovered the body of Juan de 
la Cosa, who had been killed by poisoned arrows, 
they returned to their ships. 

Ojeda now took leave of Nicuesa, and made his 
way to the Gulf of Uraba. Entering the Gulf, 
he endeavoured to find the river Darien, which 


the two governors had agreed to accept as the 
boundary of their respective territories. This 
river he could not discover, but he disembarked 
on the eastern side of the gulf, and founded a 
town on a height there, calling it San Sebastian. 

Ojeda sent his stolen gold and Indians home to 
Saint Domingo, in order that more men and 
supplies might in return be despatched to him; 
and he inaugurated the building of his new town 
by a foray into the territories of a neighbouring 
Indian chief, who was reported to possess, much 
gold. This foray, however, produced nothing for 
Ojeda, and his men were soon driven back by 
clouds of poisonous arrows. 

How their people should be fed seems always 
to have been a secondary consideration with these 
maurauding governors. It appears as if they sup- 
posed gold to be meat, drink, and clothing, — the 
knowledge of what it is in civilized and settled 
communities perhaps creating a fixed idea of its 
universal power, of which they were not able to 
divest themselves. Famine now began to make 
itself felt at San Sebastian ; but fortunately at this 
time, there came in sight a vessel which had been 
stolen from some Genoese ; for it was thought that 


the new settlement would be a place, where the 
title to any possessions would not be too curiously 
looked into. The supplies, which this vessel 
brought, were purchased by Ojeda, and served to 
relieve for the moment his famishing colony. But 
their necessities soon recommenced, and, with 
their necessities, their murmurings. The Indians 
also harassed them by perpetual attacks, for the 
fame of Ojeda's deeds was rife in the land. The 
Spanish commander did what he could to soothe 
his people, by telling them that Enciso, the 
partner in his expedition, and his alcade, was 
coming. And as for the Indians, he repelled their 
attacks with his usual intrepidity. These, how- 
ever, began to understand the character of the 
man they had to deal with, and, resolving to play 
upon his personal bravery, laid an ambuscade for 
him, in which he was shot through the thigh with 
a poisoned arrow. He ordered two plates of iron, 
brought to a white heat, to be tied on to the 
thigh, threatening the reluctant surgeon to hang 
him, if he did not apply this remedy. It was so 
severe, that it not only burnt up the leg and the 
thigh, but the heat penetrated his whole body, so 
that it became necessary to expend a pipe of 


vinegar in moistening the bandages, which were 
afterwards applied. 

The supplies brought by the stolen vessel being 
now entirely consumed, Ojeda's company began 
to feel again the pressure of famine, and to 
murmur accordingly. They also took counsel 
among themselves about seizing furtively the 
brigantines and returning to Hispaniola, for they 
disbelieved, or affected to disbelieve that Enciso 
was coming at all. Ojeda resolved to anticipate 
their designs, and in these straits, to return him- 
self to Hispaniola. He did so ; and it was under 
these circumstances, and in command of his dis- 
contented and famishing men, that Francisco 
Pizarro was left as lieutenant. 

Ojeda reached Saint Domingo after Innumerable 
sufferings and difficulties, but never regained 
power and influence. He lived for some time 
afterwards at St. Domingo, and died in extreme 
poverty. It appears that he became a Franciscan 
monk for a few hours before his death, and was 
clad in the habit of that order when he died, 
'^ making," as Oviedo assures us, ^^ a more laudable 
end than other captains in those parts have done." 


Pizarro in the Neighbourhood of the Pacijic — Takes his men 
away from San Sebastian — Meets JEnciso, OjedcLS Partner 
— Vasco Nunez — The Expedition returns to San Sebastian 
— Nicuesa — Nicuesa turned adrift — Vasco Nunez takes the 

Francisco pizarro was thus left 

in command on the Terra-firma, with 
only a narrow isthmus between him 
and his destiny ; for within a few days' journey, 
flowed the Pacific, and on its coast Peru with all 
its riches — that country with which his name was 
so soon to be associated for ever. 

Still, the fixed idea, which is to take possession 
of him and haunt him night and day, alluring him 
onward like some phantom, had not yet entered 
his mind. He is the soldier of fortune — patient, 
laborious, much-enduring — but no more. 

He has proved himself to be anxious, never 



resting, never much excited, neyer^ikspeeding, 
^cautious, reserved, taciturn, willino; to do his best 
for_the benefit of ^ alL su bmittin g to oblo quv, 
patient of murmuring and discontent a mong tho se, 
who are under h iixL In those qualities he is 
superio r to the men, among whom he live g^ but 
he idea, which is to kindle him into enthusiasm, \ 
and to flash out into something like genius, is yet^ 
to come. And, but for a very remarkable co- 
incidence, that idea would perhaps never have 
come, and Francisco Pizarro would have lived 
and died, without raising his head above the mass 
of men; and Peru would have had some other 
name joined with it, as its conqueror, and no 
doubt for the better; at least, it could hardly 
have been for the worse. 

When the fifty days had expired, for which 
Pizarro and his men were to wait for Ojeda's 
return, and there were no signs of their com- 
mander, it was resolved to dispeople the settle- 
ment and to sail away. But, as the two bri- 
gantines would not hold them all, they were 
obliged to wait, until hunger and the assaults of 
the Indians had reduced them to the proper 
number. Then they killed and salted the horses 



that were left, and, having thus provided themselves 
with some food for the voyage, they embarked; 
Pizarro commanding one of the brigantines, and 
a man, named Valenzuela, the other. Their so- 
journ at San Sebastian had lasted six months. 

When they were twenty leagues from the 
shore, Valenzuela's brigantine, struck, as it was 
imagined, by some large fish, went down sud- 
denly. Pizarro made for the port of Carthagena, 
and, as he entered, saw a ship and a brigantine 
coming in at the same time. These proved to 
contain the men and the supplies, brought at last 
by the Bachilier Enciso, Ojeda's alcalde mayor. 
He had with him one hundred and fifty men, 
several horses, arms, powder, and provisions. But 
that was not all ; the most important part of the 
cargo is yet to be mentioned. In the midst of 
the cargo, unknown to its owner, was a barrel, 
containing no provisions, but a living man, who 
was destined to have the greatest influence upon 
Pizarro's future life. His name was Vasco Nunez 
de Balboa, a native of Xeres de Badajoz, an ad- 
venturer, a skilful master of the art of fencing 
(digladiator)\ who, as he was in debt, and, as 
indebted people might not leave the island of 


HIspaniola without the permission of the autho- 
rities, had secretly, by the aid of a friend named 
Bartolome Hurtado, contrived to get into this 
barrel, and to form part of Enciso's stores. When 
the vessel had got out to sea, Vasco Nunez made 
his appearance, much to the dissatisfaction of 
Enciso, a precise lawyer, who must thoroughly 
have objected to aid in any breach of the law. 
He threatened to put Vasco Nunez on a desert 
island, but suffered himself to be pacified at last. 
To those who know the part, that Vasco Nuiiez 
was about to play, it almost seems as if the Ara- 
bian story of the unfortunate man, who freed a 
malignant spirit from durance, and found that it 
had sworn to destroy the person, who should 
deliver it, was so far about to be acted again. 

On the meeting of the remnant of Ojeda's 
company under Pizarro's command with the re- 
inforcements brought by the Bachiller Enciso, 
the latter commander at once concluded that 
these people had fled away from their duty, and 
had deserted Ojeda. Indeed, Enciso was so con- 
vinced of this, that he was inclined to put them 
into confinement, and at first would give no credit 
to the story they told him. Their famished ap- 


pearance, however^ was an undeniable witness in 
their favour, and at last they succeeded in con- 
vincing the Bachiller of the truth of what they 
were saying ; and then, naturally enough, they 
did all they could, Pizarro no doubt joining with 
them, and, from his position, having more weight 
than any, to dissuade him from proceeding to San 
Sebastian ; but he, full of his lawyer-like notions 
that he must do what he had contracted to do 
(and he is to be honoured for this), resolved to 
go on to Uraba; and, partly persuading them 
with a hope of plunder, partly insisting upon 
their obedience, he contrived to carry them along 
with him. 

Thus was Francisco Pizarro again carried back 
towards the scene of his destiny ; and that it was 
decidedly against his better judgment may be 
gathered from the state of despondency, into which 
they were thrown after their arrival at San Se- 

Just as Enciso was making for land near San 
Sebastian, from some oversight on the part of the 
man at the helm, his vessel was thrown upon a 
rock, and in a very short time beaten to pieces. 
The men with difficulty saved themselves in the 


boat and the brigantine, but all the cattle and 
almost all the provisions were lost ; and, when 
Enciso and his men made their way to San 
Sebastian, they found the fortress entirely de- 
stroyed. Their situation was manifestly most 
perilous. For some time they managed to sub- 
sist upon wild animals caught in the mountains, 
and upon the buds of the palm tree; but this 
precarious supply soon came to an end, and then 
it was necessary to obtain food by force. 

The Indians here, however, as Ojeda had found 
before, were most formidable opponents. It is 
mentioned that three naked Indians with poisoned 
arrows pierced as many Spaniards, as they had 
arrows for, and then fled like the wind. 

In these straits we may easily imagine how the 
desire to return grew upon the men, and how 
Pizarro and the remnant of Ojeda's people cla- 
moured at their advice and entreaties not having 
been listened to. And now, while Pizarro was 
wishing to turn his back on the Pacific, as yet 
unknown, and the nations lying on its coast,— 
while the hearts of all men in this colony were 
thus stricken down, Vasco Nunez spoke out. 
He said that he recollected, when he was with 


Eodrigo de Bastidas^ entering this gulf of Urabd; 
and that they disembarked on the western part 
of it, where they found an Indian town near a 
great river, in the midst of a fertile country. He 
also said, which was most to the present purpose, 
that the Indians in those parts did not use poi- 
soned arrows. How deeply it is to be regretted 
that this knowledge of poisoned arrows did not 
overspread the continent; for, as every reader 
of the Iliad is always on the Trojan side, so it is 
impossible, in reading of the conquest of the New 
World, not to wish for the success of the weaker 
party, or, at least, not to regret that their weapons 
were for the most part so lamentably unequal to 
those of their invaders. 

This river, that Vasco Nunez spoke of, proved 
to be the river Darien. His advice was instantly 
listened to ; and the Bachiller Enciso, taking with 
him Vasco Nunez and a hundred men, set out to find 
the Indian town. They succeeded in finding it ; 
but the Indians, who had heard of their doino^s in 
other parts, were not inclined to receive them 
amicably. Five hundred men (the women and 
children having been sent away) had taken up a 
position on a hill, awaiting the orders of Cemaco, 
their cacique, for battle. 


Enciso's forces were victorious, for Vasco Nunez 
proved to be right in his report of there being no 
poison in the arrows of these Indians; who ac- 
cordingly made no resistance, worthy of the name, 
to the blows of sword and lance dealt by the 

Enciso afterwards entered the Indian town, 
where he found a store of provisions ; and, pur- 
suing his researches, he discovered in a cane- 
brake the household gods of the Indians, among 
which were also found golden breastplates and 
golden chains. Sending for the rest of his people 
from San Sebastian, Enciso founded the town of 
Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darien. 

But these Spaniards under Enciso, the partner 
of Ojeda, were to the north-west of the river 
Darien, and consequently in the government of 
Nicuesa: it is necessary, therefore, to inquire 
what had become of him in the mean time. In- 
deed, no sooner had Enciso's men a season of 
relief from their immediate sufferings, than, dis- 
appointed and discontented, they used this very 
ground, as a pretext for getting rid of their com- 
mander — namely, that they were no longer in 
Ojeda's territory, but in that of Nicuesa; which 


was true. Vasco Nunez was, no doubt, at the 
head of the malcontents. The men, resolving to 
depose Enciso, proceeded to an election of their 
officers ; and, in straits like these, a good choice 
is nearly sure to be made. They chose Vasco 
Nunez and a man named Zamudio, for their 
alcades, and a person of the name of Valdivia, 
for regidor; but even this election was not de- 
cisive in the minds of these unfortunate colonists. 
There still remained three factions, one in favour 
of Vasco Nunez, another devoted to Enciso, and 
a third to Nicuesa. 

An accident determined the matter in favour 
of Nicuesa. It was always the custom with these 
governors, when they went on their expeditions, 
to leave behind some one, who should constantly 
send men and supplies after them. Nicuesa had 
left behind him in Hispaniola his lieutenant, Rod- 
rigo de Colmenares, who was to take charge of 
the stores and provisions, which were to follow 
him, Colmenares met with great hindrance from 
the authorities in Hispaniola, and it was not 
until ten months, after his chief had sailed, that he 
was able to follow him. The first point he had 
touched upon in the Terra-firma was in the pro- 


vince of Santa Martha, on Nicuesa's side of the 
river Darien. From thence he had proceeded 
westward or north-westward along the coast, in 
search of Nicuesa, making smoke-signals on the 
shore and firing off guns, which were at last 
heard by Enciso's men, who, returning the sig- 
nals, brought Colmenares to them. This was in 
November, 1510, when Pizarro was forty years 

The provisions, which Colmenares brought in 
his ships, were powerful arguments in favour of 
Nicuesa ; the recollection of his pleasant manners, 
and of his kindness to their late commander, 
Ojeda, must have told in his favour ; and, in fine, 
the greater part of Enciso's company joined in 
sending Colmenares to Nicuesa, to ask him to 
come and take the command of them. Again 
are the Pacific and its nations on the point of 
being thrust out of the grasp of Vasco Nunez 
and Pizarro; but fortune decreed it other- 
wise. Nicuesa had been as unfortunate in his 
expedition, as Ojeda had been in his; for soon 
after quitting Carthagena, where he had left 
Ojeda, as the weather had now become very 
contrary ; one stormy night, to avoid danger near 


the coast, he put out to sea, and in the course 
of that night parted company with all the other 
vessels. In the morning, thinking that his fleet 
had perished, he returned to the coast and went 
up a river, of which the name is not given. There 
the tide, flowing out with a great rapidity un- 
perceived by the ship's crew, left him on a sand- 
bank. The caravel instantly fell on its side, and 
began to go to pieces. Nicuesa and his ship's 
company were only saved by the boldness of one 
of them, who contrived to fasten a rope to a tree, 
by which, as on a bridge, the men made their way 
to land, but all the stores, provisions, and clothes 
were lost. 

One thing, however, of value remained to 
them, — the boat. In that Nicuesa put four sea- 
men, and ordered them to coast along to the west, 
keeping near him, while he and the rest pursued 
their course by land. Thus they proceeded for 
some days, and on one occasion, imagining they 
could save much distance by going all of them 
from one promontory to another, where the land 
made a great curve inwards, they all used the 
boat by turns, and got safely to the opposite 
headland; which headland, however, proved not 


to be part of the coast, but a desert Island, where 
there was not even fresh water. The four men, 
who managed the boat, went off with it one night, 
and Nicuesa and his men were left to endure the 
extreme of suffering. 

His fleet in the meantime, concluding that their 
commander would be sure to make his way to 
Veragua, resolved to hold on their course in that 
direction. When they had all come together in 
the river Chagre, the second in command, Lope 
de Olano, finding that there were no tidings of 
the chief, concluded he was lost, and, by general 
consent, took the command of the expedition. 
But it was no longer in a hopeful state. The 
ships had suffered from a worm, which was very 
destructive to ship-timber on that coast, and all 
the provisions had been spoiled or lost. In a 
short time Lope de Olano finds himself on the 
shore near the river Belem, with the great ships 
knocked to pieces and a caravel formed out of them, 
with his two brigantines, with no stores, no pro- 
visions, and many of his men dead. Here he is 
found by the four mariners, who had stolen away 
with the boat from Nicuesa and the rest, leaving 
them on a desert island. 


A brigantine was sent to fetch off Nicuesa and 
his companions ; and they rejoined the rest at the 
river Belem, The first thing Nicuesa did on 
meeting his people was to command the arrest 
of Lope de Olano, and bitterly to reproach his 
other principal officers, for not having made efforts 
to discover him. 

Meanwhile, the state of things around him 
grew worse and worse, but the severity of Ni- 
cuesa's temper did not abate ; and his men be- 
lieved that he absolutely took delight in imposing 
upon them dreadful burdens, when he sent them 
into the country to see what they could get by 
force from the Indian villages. To such an ex- 
tremity were the Spaniards reduced, that on one 
occasion they are said to have been driven by 
hunger to cannibalism. 

Nicuesa at length resolved to leave a spot, that 
had been so fatal to him. Taking with him in 
the caravel and the two brigantines their comple- 
ment of men, he left the others behind, and set 
sail, directing his course to the east. 

They put in at a harbour, which proved to be 
Portobello, so named by Columbus. But they 
were now so weak, that they could hardly hold 


their weapons in their hands. The Indians suc- 
ceeded in resisting them, and in killing twenty. 
From Portobello they went sailing towards the 
east, until they came to another harbour. In the 
name of God {en nombre de Dios) let us stay here, 
they exclaimed ; and Nombre de Dios is the name 
the port has ever since retained.* What poetry 
and history there are in names! Here Nicuesa 
sent for the rest of the men from the river Belem. 
Since his departure from Belem he had lost two 
hundred more men ; and now, of the seven hun- 
dred and eighty-five men, who came out with him 
from Hispaniola, there remained in December, 
1510, only about a hundred. Hunger, which 
had dogged the steps of this expedition from the 
night of that fatal tempest and dispersion, still 
relentlessly pursued them. At last, all the ordi- 
nary rules of discipline were at an end, and there 
could not even be found one man in the com- 
pany strong enough to do the duty of a sentinel. 

It was just at this moment of extreme and 
apparently hopeless peril that Colmenares, pur- 

* It afterwards became the great fort for the reception 
and transmission to Spain of the riches of Peru. 


suing steadily his course westward, came upon 
their track and found them. Great was the de- 
light of the seventy men who remained, — for their 
number had now dwindled to seventy ; and Ni- 
cuesa's delight was not the least, when, shedding 
tears, he threw himself at the feet of one, who 
brought him present safety and such good hopes 
for the future. Indeed, it was a change of for- 
tune such as seldom occurs, except in fiction. 

According to Peter Martyr's account, Colme- 
nares found Nicuesa " of all living men the most 
unfortunate, in a manner dried up with extreme 
hunger, filthy, and horrible to behold ; " and now 
he was summoned to become governor to those, 
who remained of his rival Ojeda's force, and who, 
unfortunate as they had been, had at any rate 
made a less wretched settlement than Nicuesa 
and his men could boast of having done. 

But Nicuesa's good temper and good sense 
were not now to be recovered by any gleam of 
good fortune. Hearing that Ojeda's company 
had collected gold, upon which, since, strictly 
speaking, they were settled in the country as- 
signed to him, he had some claim, he gave out 
that he should take it away. The disgust, which 


the deputies from Darien began at once to con- 
ceive for him, may be easily imagined; nor was 
this disgust likely to be diminished by any good 
words, that would be said of him by his own men 
at Nombre de Dios. Lope de Olano, though in 
chains, contrived to put in his word, privately 
telling the new comers that Nicuesa would do 
with them, as he had done with his own people, 
when they sent for him from the desert island. 
Lope de Olano's words had the more effect, as he 
was able to communicate with some relations and 
men from his own province, Biscayans, who were 
at Darien. Still, had Nicuesa been swift in acting 
upon his good news, he might have anticipated the 
consequences of his foolish and tyrannical sayings, 
and have defeated his Biscayan enemies ; but, 
while he sent on to Darien a caravel, in which 
there were many of the people, who murmured 
against him, he himself in the brigantine stopped 
on the way for about a week, to reconnoitre some 
little islands and to capture Indians, for which 
iniquity there came a terrible retribution. No 
sooner had the people in the caravel reached 
Darien, than they began to influence the colonists 
there against him, and with such success, that the 


Darienites became quite mad with themselves at 
their folly, in having invited Nicuesa. It may 
easily be imagined, and was generally reported 
that Vasco Nunez did what he could to incite the 
people against the coming governor; and it is 
said that he canvassed with great secresy the 
principal persons, man by man, convincing them 
of their error in having chosen Nicuesa, and 
showing them the remedy for it. 

When, therefore, Nicuesa neared the place of 
disembarkation, expecting to be received with 
whatever pomp men so tattered and buffeted 
could show, he found an array of armed men 
drawn up on the shore, looking as if they meant 
to repel an invasion, rather than to receive a 
governor. The procurador, in a formal man- 
ner, proclaimed aloud that Nicuesa should not be 
permitted to land, but return to his own settle- 
ment at Nombre de Dios. 

The next day, when he appeared, they called 
him to them, meaning to take him prisoner ; but, 
being remarkably swift of foot, he escaped them. 
He then asked them to take him for a companion, 
if not for a governor; and if not as a compa- 
nion, as a prisoner ; saying they might put him 


in chains. But they only mocked him, Vasco 
Nunez, who had some grandeur of soul, did his 
best to make them change their behaviour ; and he 
,even inflicted the punishment of a hundred stripes 
on one of those, who took most part against Ni- 
cuesa; but, seeing that he could not resist the 
whole settlement, he sent privately to Nicuesa, 
telling him not to trust himself among them, un- 
less he could see him, Vasco Nuiiez, with them. 
JN icuesa gave no heed to this, for, afterwards, when 
there came a deputation to him in mockery, he 
listened to them, and placed himself in their hands. 
But no sooner had they got him into their power, 
than they made him swear that he would go away, 
and not stop, until he should appear before the 
King of Spain and his Council. In vain the 
wretched Nicuesa protested against their cruelty 
in sending him away so ill-provisioned as he was 
for any voyage. They paid no attention to his 
entreaties, but turned him adrift in the most 
wretched brigantine that was there. And so 
Nicuesa set sail from Darien, and was never 
heard of more. 

Thus is another man removed, under whose 
guidance this expedition would either have mise- 


rably perished, or confined itself to paltry descents 
upon the Indians, or to the establishing of unim- 
portant settlements on the northern coast of Da- 
rien, while, on the southern, the Pacific and nations, 
rich beyond all conception, were only waiting to 
be discovered. Of the companions, whom Ojeda 
and Nicuesa brought out with them full of hope 
and proud designs, only forty-three remained of 
Nicuesa's men, and thirty or forty of Ojeda's. 
The rest of the men, now at Darien, were those, 
who had come in the reinforcements brought by 
Enciso to Ojeda, and by Colmenares to Nicuesa. 
Pizarro, as the trusted lieutenant of Ojeda, was 
now of no small weight among the men ; but it 
was as a subordinate rather than a chief. The 
man, who rises to the surface as chief, is Vasco 
Nunez de Balboa. 


Vosco Nunez takes the command — Sends away Enciso — The 
Expedition is nearly failing — The Cacique Car eta — Vasco 
Nunez loves his daughter — The Cacique Comogre — Co- 
mog7'e's son — The young maris speech — Tidings of the 
Pacific and rich nations southwards — Pizarro listens 
eagerly — The return to Darien — Messengers are sent to 
the Court of Spain — Enciso' s enmity to Vasco Nunez — 
Rumour of a Governor for Darien — Vasco Nunez deter- 
mines to discover the Pacific — First sight of it — Pizari^o 
sent to discover the shortest way to the coast — Pearl-fishing 
— Tidings of the riches of Peru — They return to Darien — 
A messenger is sent to the Court of Spain, 

^T is Interesting to notice the way in 
which great deeds, which are waiting 
to be done, refuse, as it were, to be 
done by the men set in authority to do them, and, 
falling through their hands, remain to be done by 
men, who, when these deeds were first taken in 
hand, were in but a subordinate position, and / 


altogether precluded from taking any prominent 
part with reference to them. 

When Nicuesa and Ojeda first set out for their 
respective governments on the Isthmus, Vasco 
Nunez remained behind at Hispaniola in such 
straitened circumstances, that he was forbidden to 
/ leave the island. Francisco Pizarro was employed / 
in the expedition, but any fame or gain that might 
have accrued to it would not have fallen to his 
lot ; he was no more than one out of many of the 
officers serving under Ojeda ; and yet these two 
men, Vasco Nunez and Pizarro, were the very 
men, who were to accomplish all that was destined 
/ to be done. It was little dreamed that the con-^Z^ 
duct of that enterprise was to devolve upon a 
man, who should furtively come out in a cask to 
evade his creditors. By the time of Ojeda's re- 
moval from the scene, Vasco Nunez had so worked 
himself into the affections of the men, that a very 
considerable party chose him for their commander, 
in opposition to Nicuesa and Ojeda's partner, 
Enciso. It is remarkable that at this juncture 
r Pizarro, though looked upon as a good captain, is 
/ not thought of as a chief, a proof that the grand 
I idea of his life had not taken possession of him- 


I that as yet he was a man of no purpose, capable I 
of serving, but unable to originate and lead. It 
was fortunate, therefore, for Pizarro's future for- 
tunes that the command of the expedition was not 
L allowed to remain in the hands of such men, as \ 
Ojeda and Nicuesa. 

This Vasco Nuriez had most of the qualities 
necessary for a commander in those times. He 
was forward in enterprise, far-seeing, fertile in 
resources, crafty, courageous, goodhumoured, and 
handsome. Ithink,too, he had considerable nobility 
of nature ; and I am not disposed to lay the whole 
blame of the treatment, which Nicuesa received 
at the hands of his men, upon Vasco Nuiiez. His 
conduct to Enciso is far more questionable, and 
has justly laid him open to the accusation of having 
kept in mind the threats and reproaches Enciso 
addressed to him, when he made his unwelcome 
and undignified appearance from amidst the cargo 
of Enciso's vessel. 

After Nicuesa's departure, Vasco Nunez insti- 
tuted a process against the Bachiller, saying that 
he had usurped a jurisdiction, to which he had no 
claim, as he had not received authority from the 
King, but only from Ojeda, who was already 


dead. Upon this poor pretext^ Vasco Nunez 
sequestered Enclso's goods, and put him in pri- 
son, but afterwards freed him upon the under- 
standing that he should sail for Castille or for 
Hispaniola. It seems a very weak proceeding 
of Vasco Nunez to have sent home a man, who, 
he must have known, would be a powerful enemy ; 
but he took care to send in the same ship Val- 
divia and Zamudio, — Valdiyia to go to Don Diego 
Columbus at Hispaniola, and Zamudio to go on 
to Spain, and there represent to the King the 
services, which the colonists at Darien had ren- 
dered to his Highness. Valdivia did not go 

Vasco Nunez, having heard that there was 
much gold in Cueva, a province at thirty leagues 
distance, sent Pizarro with six companions to 
discover this province. The Indians in this part 
did not use poisoned arrows ; Pizarro, therefore, 
was able wdth that handful of men to beat back, 
and kill great numbers of the natives, before re- 
turning to Vasco Nuiiez. Another incursion was 
made into these regions ; but the Indians had 
now learned to take refuge in flight. There are 
signs now^ of Vasco Nunez getting discouraged 


with the enterprise; and here was the turning 
point of his career; if he had been a man like 
Ojeda or Nicuesa, he would have contented him- 
self with making petty incursions, have thus 
deprived himself of the neighbourhood of the 
Indians, and eventually have perished from star- 
vation. After some little time, as Nicuesa did 
not return to Darien, of which event it appears 
Vasco Nunez had an expectation, he sent for the 
remnant of Nicuesa's men from Nombre de Dios. 
As these people were on their way to Darien, 
and were in a port of the province of Cueva, there 
came to meet them two Spaniards, without clothes, 
and with painted bodies, like the Indians. These 
were men, who, about a year and a half before, 
had fled from Nicuesa's ships to avoid punish- 
ment, and had been kindly received by Careta, 
the cacique of Cueva. Indeed he had made one 
of them, Juan Alonzo, his chief captain. This 
wretch bade the Spaniards tell Vasco Nunez 
that, if he would come to Careta's town, he would 
deliver his master, the cacique, bound, into the 
hands of Vasco Nunez; and he also gave the 
alluring intelligence that there were great riches 
in that province. 


Vasco Nunez was delighted at this news, and 
came immediately into Careta's territory at the 
head of a hundred and thirty men. He captured 
Careta, carried him and his family to Darien, and 
devastated the town. The cacique, however, was 
not on this occasion ill-treated by the Spaniards; 
but, on the contrary, was conciliated and con- 
verted into a most useful ally. He gave his 
daughter to Vasco Nunez, who loved Her much ; 
and the cacique entered into an agreement (here we 
may trace the wisdom of the Spanish commander) 
to aid in growing supplies for the Spaniards, if 
they would assist him In carrying on war against 
his enemy, Poncha. 

This is the way, in which an invading force 
generally makes its footing good in a country, — 
by converting the foolish enmities of the natives 
into stepping-stones of conquest. The above con- 
ditions were agreed upon and fulfilled. 

Forty leagues from Darien, and adjoining Ca- 
reta's territory, was a country called Comogra, 
situated on the sea-coast, the cacique of which 
country was named Comogre. This chief was 
brought into friendship with the Spaniards by 
one of Careta's relations, and Vasco Nunez went 


to visit him. The Spaniards were much sur- 
prised by the signs of comfort and civilization, 
which th.y found in this Indian chief's dwelling; 
the chief himself gave them a splendid welcome, 
and presented them with four thousand pesos of 
gold and seventy slaves. While the Spaniards 
were weighing out this gold, there arose, to use 
the expressive words of an old translation of Peter 
Martyr, a " brabbling among the Spaniards about 
the dividing of the gold." 

Comogre's eldest son, seeing this miserable con- 
tention among the Spaniards, was disgusted at 
their clamour. So, after the fashion of Brennus, 
dashing with his hand the scales, in which the 
gold was, and scattering it about, he made the 
following speech, " What is this, Christians ; is 
it for such a little thing that you quarrel ? * If 
you have such a love of gold, that to obtain it you 
disquiet and harass the peaceful nations of these 
lands, and, suffering such labours, banish your- 

* Peter Martyr adds, " and that you make so 

much turmoil about a little gold, which nevertheless you 
melt down from beautifully wrought work into rude bars 
(for they carried their melting instruments with them)." — 
Dec. ii. cap. 3. 


selves from your own lands, I will show you a 
country, where you may fulfil your desires. But 
it is necessary for this that you should be more 
in number than you now are ; for you would 
have to fight your way with great kings, and 
among them, in the first place, with King Tuba- 
nama, who abounds with this gold, and whose 
country is distant from our country six suns." 

Then he signified to them that this rich terri- 
tory lay towards a sea, and southwards ; at which 
sea they would arrive, he said, after passing over 
certain sierras. It was navigated, he added, by 
ships with sails and oars, a little less in size than 
those of the Spaniards. Traversing that sea, 
they would find a land of great riches, where the 
people had large vessels of gold, out of which they 
ate and drank; where, indeed, there was more 
gold than there was iron in Biscay — (it appears 
that the shrewd Indian had been making inquiry 
with respect to the manufacture of the Spanish 
swords). The above is not to be taken as a 
speech set down in a classical history, but it 
appears that the substance of it was really uttered 
by the young Indian prince. Juan Alonzo and 
the other Spaniard, who had lived with King 


Careta^ served as interpreters; and these men 
seem to have been fated to be the conduits, as it 
were, of great evil, and their intelligence the 
cause of great adventures. 

It appears, moreover, that the young prince in- 
formed his attentive audience that a thousand men 
vrould be requisite for this undertaking ; and that, 
when asked for the grounds of his information, and 
for his advice, he made another speech, in which he 
told the Spaniards that his countrymen, too, had 
wars, and that he had learned these facts from one 
of his own men, ("Behold him!" he exclaimed,) 
who had been a captive in those countries of 
which he spoke. He also offered to accompany 
the Spaniards ; and he said that they might hang 
him on the next tree, if his words should not 
prove true. The substance of his speeches, and 
probably some of the exact words were conveyed 
to the Spanish Court. This was the first notice 
of the Pacific, and also of Peru. It is likely that 
Pizarro was a bystander. Much, however, yet 
stood between him and Peru. If the expedition 
were to discover Peru the day following, it would 
be but little to him, — a few pesos more of gold and 
silver, a few hundreds of slaves; but to Vasco 


Nunez would belong all the principal glory and 
benefit. He, Pizarro, was a painstaking, trust- / 
worthy captain, but no more. But there is no 
doubt that among all those captains, who, as Peter 
Martyr says, '^ marvelled at the oration of the 
naked young man, and pondered in their minds, 
and earnestly considered his sayings," there was 
none, upon whom this oration had a deeper and 
more lasting effect. 

The Spaniards, having baptized Comogre and 
his family, giving him the name of Don Carlos, 
took their leave and returned to Darien, joyful 
and thoughtful, in the feverish state of mind of 
persons seeing before them great enterprises, for 
which they are not quite prepared. When they 
arrived, they found that Valdivia had come with 
a ship and some provisions, also with a gracious 
message from the authorities of Hispaniola ; but 
their provisions were consumed in a few days, 
and famine, always dogging their steps, soon 
began to attack them again. It was not alto- 
gether their own fault this time, for a great storm 
had destroyed what they had sown. They lived 
now, as some of the feudal barons in the middle 
ages did, by predatory forays, robbing and de- 
vastating wherever they could. 


Vasco Nunez has been held to be a man, who 
dealt very wisely, and, upon the whole, very mer- 
cifully with the Indians; but we are told that 
he was accustomed to put them to the torture, in 
order to make them discover those towns, which 
had most gold and provisions, and then to attack 
these towns by night. He wrote to the admiral, 
saying that he had hanged thirty caciques and 
must hang as many as he could take; for the 
Spaniards, being few, had no other course, until 
he should be supplied with more men. He meant 
that terror was his only means of supplying the 
defect of force. 

Still the resistance of the Indians continued. 
Conspiracy after conspiracy against the Spaniards 
was formed among the caciques, but by one means 
or another the conspiracies were broken up or 
frustrated; and at last, by the treachery of a native 
woman, Vasco Nunez was able to direct his captain, 
Colmenares, to the spot where the forces of the 
caciques were assembled ; and Colmenares, falling 
suddenly on Tirichi, captured the confederates, 
seized their provisions, put the chiefs to death, 
and terrified the whole country into submission. 

Vasco Nunez and the colonists at Darien now 
resolved that a messeno^er should be sent to the 


King of Spain, to inform his Highness of what 
had happened, to tell him of the speech of Co- 
mogre's son, and to seek for countenance and 
succour. Vasco Nunez wished to go himself, 
thinking probably that he could plead his own 
cause best at court; but his companions would 
not hear of this, — a proof that it was felt how the 
welfare and existence of the whole colony de- 
pended upon him. They chose Quicedo and 
Colmenares as their deputies, who were well 
furnished with funds for their important mis- 
sion ; but their means of transport were of the 
most miserable description. With a very scanty 
stock of provisions, and with not a soul on board, 
who knew anything of navigation, in a crazy 
vessel, the deputies from Darien left that colony 
in October, 1512. As was to be expected, they 
made a very bad passage ; and, being driven to 
Cuba, and afterwards going to Hispaniola, which 
was in accordance with their instructions, they did 
not arrive in Spain until May, 1513. 

One part of their intelligence seems particularly 
to have caught the fancy of their countrymen at 
home. An Indian had mentioned that there was 
a river, where the natives fished for gold with 


nets; the deputies repeated this story; and as 
all persons, from the weakest to the strongest, 
thought that this was a kind of fishing, at which 
they would be singularly expert and fortunate, 
all Spain became anxious to fish In those waters. 

Unfortunately for Vasco Nuiiez, the deputies 
from Darlen were not the only persons of that 
colony at this time present at the Court of Spain. 
The Bachlller Enclso was there too, and no doubt 
loud and bitter In making his complaints of Vasco 
Nunez. Besides, there was the Intelligence of 
what had happened to NIcuesa; and as It ap- 
peared that Vasco Nunez had been the greatest 
gainer from NIcuesa's repulse, he had also to 
bear the greatest part of the blame for that 
transaction. The king ordered him to be pro- 
ceeded against criminally ; and in the civil courts 
he was cast In all the expenses, to which Enclso 
had by his means been put. 

Meanwhile Vasco Nuiiez had no easy time 
at Darlen, where factiousness reigned supreme. 
It appears that there was a man named Hurtado, 
whom Vasco Nunez favoured much, and to whom 
he entrusted much authority. This man became 
particularly obnoxious to several of his comrades. 


These, uniting, sought to take prisoners both 
Hurtado and his chief; but Vasco Nuiiez, who 
was always alert, made the first move, seizing 
the head of the opposing faction, and putting him 
in prison. He was afterwards released, and the 
dispute for the moment suppressed. Many of the 
men on the last division of gold had accused their 
commander of unfairness ; and, as there was a sum 
of ten thousand castellanos just about to be di- 
vided, they determined to make this the pretext 
of seizing upon his person. The way, in which 
he surmounted this difficulty, may serve to show 
the abilities of the man for command. Far from 
seeking to be the great personage in this important 
business, on the very evening of the day of par- 
tition, or the day before, the politic Vasco Nunez 
went out to hunt, and left his enemies to seize 
upon the gold, and divide it. They, as was to be 
expected, made enemies in doing so, and loosened 
the bands of their own faction ; while those, who 
were injured, or who thought they were, made a 
great tumult, recalled Vasco Nunez to full power, 
and put his enemies in prison. 

About this time there arrived at Darien two 
vessels with a hundred and fifty men in them. 


laden with provisions, which had been sent from 
Hispaniola by the Spanish authorities in that 
island. These ships also brought something, 
which was very welcome to Vasco Nunez, 
namely, his appointment as captain-general. 

This was done by the treasurer at St. Domingo. 
Any show of authority was very welcome to Vasco 
Nuiiez ; and, in his joy, as if it had been a birth- 
day, he willingly consented to let loose all the 
prisoners, as an act of grace, upon the receipt 
of good news. 

However, amidst all these flowers of rejoicing 
there came some adder-like news, which must 
have filled the heart of Vasco Nunez with appre- 
hension ; and that was the report of his own dis- 
favour at court, caused by the complaints of the 
Bachiller Enciso,* and by the intelligence of Ni- 
cuesa's fate. I should think that the rumour of 
the king's intention to appoint a governor of 

* The error of Yasco Nunez in his treatment of Enciso 
followed him throughout his career. But indeed this is a 
common case in ordinary life, as a large part of the best 
time in many men's lives is spent in extricating themselves 
from the consequences (or in enduring them) of one or two 
thoughtless blunders. 



Darien was very likely to have accompanied this 
news, which came in a letter from Zamudio, a 
former colleague of Vasco Nunez. 

His position was most perilous. The maxim, 
confugiendum est ad imperium^ must have occurred 
to him, not exactly in the words of the original, 
for Vasco Nunez had little learning, but only by 
that intuitive knowledge, which great peril, coming 
upon great resources of mind, easily strikes out. 
In truth, it is melancholy to observe, as wise men 
have done, how much of private misery is at the 
bottom of great actions, and what sleepless furies 
have driven many an Orestes to enterprises, that 
were transcendently difficult, but not so difficult as 
staying still, or so painful as looking backwards. 

Vasco Nuiiez therefore resolved to be the dis- 
coverer of that sea and of those rich lands, to 
which Comogre's son had pointed, when, after 
rebuking the Spaniards for their brabbling about 
the division of the gold, he turned his face to- 
wards the south. In the peril, which so closely 
impended over Vasco Nunez, there was no use in 
waiting for reinforcements from Spain; when 
these reinforcements should come, his dismissal 
would come too. Accordingly, early in Septem- 


ber, 1513, he out set on his renowned expedition 
for finding ^^ the other sea/' accompanied by a 
hundred and ninety men, well armed, and by 
dogs, which were of more avail than men, and by 
Indian slaves to carry the burthens. He went 
by sea to the territory of his father-in-law. King 
Careta, by whom he was well received, and, ac- 
companied by whose Indians, he moved on into 
Poncha's territory. This chief took flight, as he 
had done before ; but Vasco Nunez, whose first 
thought in his present undertaking was discovery 
not conquest, sent messengers to Poncha, pro- 
mising not to injure him. The Indian chief 
listened to these overtures, and gave Vasco Nunez 
guides and porters from among his people, and 
enabled him to prosecute his journey. 

Following Poncha's guides, Vasco Nunez and 
his men commenced the ascent of the mountains, 
until he entered the country of an Indian chief, 
called Quaregua, whom they found fully prepared 
to resist them. The king and his principal men 
were slain, and a total rout of the Indians ensued. 

Leaving several of his men, who were 111, or 
over-weary, in Quaregua's chief town, and taking 
with him guides from this country, the Spanish 


commander pursued his way up the most lofty 
sierras, until, on the 25th of September, 1513, he 
came near to the top of a mountain, from whence 
the South Sea was visible. The distance from 
Poncha's chief town to this point was forty leagues, 
reckoned then six days' journey ; but Vasco Nu- 
nez and his men took twenty-five days to accom- 
plish It, as they suffered much from the roughness 
of the ways and from the want of provisions. 

A little before Vasco Nunez reached the height, 
Quaregua's Indians Informed him of his near ap- 
proach to the sea. It was a sight. In beholding 
which for the first time any man would wish to 
be alone. Vasco Nunez bade his men sit down ; 
while he ascended, and then. In solitude, looked 
down upon the vast Pacific — the first man of the 
Old World, so far as we know, who had done so. 
Falling on his knees, he gave thanks to God for 
the favour shown to him, In his being permitted 
to discover the " Sea of the South." Then with 
his hand he beckoned to his men to come up. 
When they had come, both he and they knelt 
down and poured forth their thanks to God. He 
then addressed them In these words: ^^You see 
here, Gentlemen and Children mine, how our de- 


sires are being accomplished, and the end of our 
labours. Of that we ought to be certain ; for, as 
it has turned out true what King Comogre's son 
told of this sea to us, who never thought to see it, 
so I hold for certain that what he told us of there 
being incomparable treasures in it will be fulfilled. 
God and his blessed Mother, who have assisted 
us, so that we should arrive here and behold this 
sea, will favour us, so that we may enjoy all that 
there is in it." 

Afterwards, they all devoutly sang the " Te 
Deum laudamus ;" and a list was drawn up by a 
notary of those, who were present at this dis- 
covery, which was made upon Saint Martin's 

Every great and original action has a prospec- 
tive greatness, not alone from the thoughts of the 
man who achieves it, but from the various aspects 
and high thoughts, which the sanie action will 
continue to present and call up in the minds ot 
others, to the end, it may be, of all time. And 
so a remarkable event may go on acquiring more 
and more significance. In this case, our know- 
ledge that the Pacific, which Vasco Nunez then 
beheld, occupies more than one half of the earth's 


surface^ is an element of thought, which in our 
minds lightens up, and gives an awe to this first 
gaze of his upon those mighty waters. To him 
the scene might not at that moment have suggested 
much more than it would have done to a mere 
conqueror: indeed, Peter Martyr likens Vasco 
Nunez to Hannibal, showing Italy to his sol- 

Having thus addressed his men, Vasco Nuiiez 
proceeded to take formal possession, on behalf of 
the kings of Castille, of the sea and all that was in 
it ; and, in order to make memorials of the event, 
he cut down trees, formed crosses, and heaped up 
stones. He also inscribed the names of the 
monarchs of Castille upon great trees in the 

Descending the sierras, he entered the territory 
of an Indian chief, called Chiapes. The Indians 
were disposed to make a valorous resistance, but 
were soon put to flight. Vasco Nunez sent mes- 
sengers to Chiapes with overtures of peace, which 
were accepted. Quaregua's Indians were now 
sent back home with presents; — conduct, which 
was very politic ; for it conciliated and re-assured 
the Indians thus sent back ; it gave confidence to 


the fresh ones who accompanied him ; and it pre- 
vented him from being overburdened with Indians, 
who might rather impede than advance the march. 
In truth, throughout this expedition Vasco Nunez 
seems to have acted with great sagacity. 

While he was in the town belonging to Chiapes, 
he sent on Francisco Pizarro, Alonzo Martin, and 
others, to find the shortest way to the sea-shore. 
Alonzo Martin was the first to discover it. He 
then descended to the shore, and found two canoes, 
lying high and dry in a place, where he could 
perceive no sea. At this he was astonished ; but, 
the sea making its appearance, and gradually ad- 
vancing to the canoes, he entered one of them, 
begging his companions to bear witness that he 
was the first to float upon that sea. Pizarro and 
Alonzo Martin returning with their intelligence, 
Vasco Nunez himself went down to the shore, ac- 
companied by eighty of his men. He entered 
the sea up to his thighs, having his sword on, and 
with his shield in his hand: then he called the 
bystanders to witness how he touched with his 
person and took possession of this sea for the 
kings of Castille, and declared that he would de- 
fend the possession of it against all comers. 


His energy was inexhaustible ; and, " not being 
able to be quiet, even while his bread was being 
baked," he resolved to navigate a certain gulf in 
those parts, to which he gave the name of San 
Miguel; a name it still retains He made his 
way to the country of a chief, named Tumaco, in 
a corner of the gulf. With some little difficulty 
he conciliated this chief, who sent for ornaments 
of gold, and two hundred and forty large pearls, 
which he presented to the Spaniards. He also 
desired his people to fish for more. The Spaniards 
could hardly contain their joy. One thing alone 
occurred to damp it. The Indians, not knowing 
better, were accustomed to open oysters by means 
of fire; this injured the colour of the pearl; and, 
accordingly, the Spaniards diligently taught the 
Indians the art of opening oysters without fire, — 
with far more diligence, indeed, than they ex- 
pended in teaching their new friends any point of 
Christian doctrine. 

It was said that this cacique, Tumaco, spoke 
of the riches of Peru to Vasco Nunez ; and there 
is something to countenance this in the report of 
the Spanish commander's letter to the king ; for 
he says, that he had learnt from Tumaco wonder- 


ful secrets of the riches of that land, which for the 
present he wished to keep to himself. 

Vasco Nunez, after having given some atten- 
tion to pearl-fishing, resolved to return home to 
Darien, but by a different route from that, which 
he had taken in coming. He learnt that, to get 
to Darien by this route, he would have to pass 
through Tubanama's country. This was the much- 
dreaded chieftain, of whom Comogre's son had 
made mention in his speech. Vasco Nunez made 
a forced march upon him, came upon his town 
suddenly by night, and captured him and his 
family. He, however, released him, ordering him 
to collect gold and send it to him, and, pursuing 
his course, came to Comogra. The labours and 
changes of climate he had endured began to tell 
even upon the hardy Nunez ; for we hear that he 
suffered now from fever, and was carried in a 
litter borne by Indians. The old chief, Comogre, 
was dead ; but the eldest son, who had made that 
eloquent but unwise speech, the cause of so much 
mischief, was reigning in his stead. By him 
Vasco Nunez was hospitably entertained ; and 
doubtless they had many things to hear from, and 
to tell each other. In a few days, having re- 


covered from the fever, he pursued his way to 
Darlen. As if to crown his good fortune, when 
he entered Poncha's territory, he found messen- 
gers from Darien to tell him that two ships, well 
laden with provisions, had arrived from Hispaniola. 
Taking a chosen body of his men as an escort, he 
hastened onwards, and on the 29th of January, 
1514, reached Darien; which he had quitted on 
the 1st of September, 1513; this most important 
expedition having occupied not quite four 

His men at Darien received him with exulta- 
tion ; and he lost no time in sending his news — 
*^ such signal and new news " — to the king of 
Spain, accompanying it with rich presents. His 
letter, which gave a detailed account of his jour- 
ney, and which, for its length, was compared by 
Peter Martyr to the celebrated letter, that came 
to the Senate from Tiberius, contained in every 
page thanks to God that he had escaped from 
such great dangers and labours. Both the letter 
and the presents were entrusted to a man named 
Arbolanche, who departed from Darien about the 
beginning of March, 1514. 

In his letter to the king, Vasco Nuiiez men- 


tioned that he had not lost a man in these battles 
with the Indians. But, indeed, why should he 
have done so, for what was there in their simple 
weapons and innocent mode of warfare, that could, 
unless by accident, destroy a well-armed man ? 


Pedrarias appointed Governor of Darien — His character — 
The eagerness of men to come out with him — The return of 
Enciso — The old colonists deliberate how they shall receive 
the Governor — Vasco Nunez recommends a welcome recep- 
tion — Vasco Nunez's audiencia — He is put into confine- 
ment^ hut afterwards released — Darien unhealthy — Seven 
hundred of the new colonists die — Pedrarias begins to send 
out expeditions — Pizarro leaves Vasco Nunez s faction — 
Goes out with Gaspar de Morales as second in command — 
The cruelties committed — All these expeditions unsuccessful 
— The melting-house shut up — Reflections, 

'ASCO NUNEZ had now established 
himself, and might have been considered 
as destined by Fortune to be the dis- 
coveror and conqueror of Peru: Pizarro is^still 
comparatively unkno wn, little tho ught of, undis- 
tinguished from theo rdinary run of subordinate 

captains ; and little Jikely^.to _carry out Anything, 
that Vasco Nune z might fail in. I t is probable, 
too, that in the eyes of Vasco Nunez^_who^ 


all great men, was undoubtedly a good judge of 
men and their abilities, Hurtado and Colmenares 
both possess more genius a nd fitness for comman d 
J jian Pizarr g; but it is not always that genius and 
striking abilities carry the daj ; perseverance ofte n 

succeeds where theY_ Jajl. Pizarro, it is probable, 
s poke litt le, butreflected much. His quiet steady 
perseverance is undoubte d; and that, i n time , 
when the opportunity cam e, stood him in t he 
stead of geniu s, and accomplished very astonish ini^ 
results. Fortune now at this time made a great 
move in his favour. 

The rumour, which had reached Vasco Nunez, 
and had made him undertake at any risk the en- 
terprise in search of the Pacific, in which he had 
been so successful, was not a false one: the 
Spanish government had appointed, even before 
he began that enterprise, a governor for Darien. 
It is probable that previously even to the arrival 
of Quicedo and Colmenares, who had been sent 
by Vasco Nunez with an account of what Co- 
mogre's son had told him, the appointment of the 
governor was quite settled.* The news, brought 

* They arrived in Spain in May, 1513, and the date of 
Pedrarias's appointment is July 27, 1513 


by these deputies from Darien, served to heighten 
the Importance of the appointment, and greatly to 
augment the numbers of the expedition. As all 
Spain was in a state of excitement at the idea of 
fishing up gold with nets, the appointment of 
Governor of Darlen was much sought after ; but 
ultimately was conferred upon the man, whom the 
Bishop of Burgos (who afterwards was President 
of the Council for the Indies) favoured, namely, 
Pedrarias de Avila. 

He was an elderly man of rank, of high con- 
nections, of much repute in war, having served 
with honour in Africa; but in wisdom he does 
not seem to have been superior to Bobadilla.* 
From his feats in the tournament he had acquired 
the name of " Justador," the jouster. 

* " I often imagine him (Bobadilla) to have been such a 
man as may often be met with, who, from his narrowness of 
mind and distinctness of prejudice, is supposed to be high- 
principled and direct in his dealings, and whose untried 
reputation has great favour with many people ; until, placed 
in power some day, he shows that to rule well requires 
other things than one-sidedness in the ruling person ; and 
is fortunate, if he does not acquire that part of renown, 
which consists in notoriety, by committing some colossal 
blunder, henceforth historical from its largeness." — Helps's 
Sp. Cona., i. 170, 


There is one thing to be said for the appoint- 
ment of men of that age and station, which, if it 
occurred to King Ferdinand, would have been 
very likely to have had great weight with him. 
It is that they are nearly sure of being faithful to 
their sovereign. It is too late to form great in- 
dependent schemes of their own ; but then they 
lack the lissomness of mind, as well as of body, 
which is necessary in dealing with such entirely 
new circumstances, as those which the Spanish 
captains in the New World had to encounter. 
I conjecture Pedrarias to have been a suspicious, 
fiery, arbitrary old man. ^^ Furor Domini " was a 
name given him by the monks in after days ; just 
as Attila enjoyed and merited the awful title of 
the ^^ Scourge of God." 

Comogre's son had said that a thousand men 
would be necessary to make their way to the sea, 
and to obtain the riches, which were there to be 
obtained. For greater safety twelve hundred was 
the number assigned to Pedrarias for his arma- 
ment, and fifteen hundred was the number which 
went ; for it happened that there was a great dis- 
banding of troops at that time, and the men thus 
set free were anxious to enter the service of 


When Pedrarias arrived at Seville, he found 
no fewer than two thousand young men eager 
to be enrolled in his forces, and '' not a small 
number of avaricious old men," many of whom 
offered to go at their own expense. It was neces- 
sary, however, not to overload the ships; and, 
therefore, many of these candidates were rejected. 
Among those chosen were several nobles. A 
bishop also was appointed to the new colony, 
whose name was Juan de Quevedo. 

Gonsalvo Hernandez de Oviedo, the celebrated 
historian, went out as veedor in this expedition. 
Gasper de Espinosa as alcalde mayor, and as 
alguazil mayor the Bachiller Enciso, whose ap- 
pointment boded no good to Vasco Nunez. It 
must be borne in mind that Enciso had been the 
partner of Ojeda, Pizarro's former commander, 
and so may probably have had some influence in 
detaching Pizarro from Vasco Nunez. 

Pedrarias set sail with his men from the port 
of San Lucar in twelve or fifteen vessels, on the 
12th of April, 1514. Vasco Nunez's messenger, 
Arbolanche, reached the Court of Spain too late 
by far for his master's interests, for he only de- 
parted from Darien in the beginning of March, 


This expedition under Pedrarias was one of 
the greatest sent out to the Indies in those times, 
and it cost the King of Spain a very large outlay. 
Had it been under the command of a wise and 
great man like Columbus, or even of a great com- 
mander like Cortes or Vasco Nunez, it might 
-4iave been the beginning of a wise colonization j 
of South America. But great means seldom 
come into great hands, or perhaps the world 
would advance too fast ; while, on the contrary, 
the most important and successful experiments 
are often made, like those of renowned inventors 
in mechanics or chemistry, with few, shabby, and S 
ill-fitting materials. 

On the voyage Pedrarias had an opport,unity 

of manifesting the severity of his character, as, 

for a comparatively slight act o f disobed ience, he 

cau^ M one of his own atten dants to be hanged, 

^and thus created terror throughout the fleet. 

Before reaching Darien the armament entered 
the harbour of Santa Martha, and thence, pursuing 
its course westward, touched at the Isle Fuerte, 
and afterwards, entering the Gulf of Uraba, made 
its way to the new settlement of Santa Maria de 
la Antigua del Darien. 



Immediately on the arrival of the fleet in the 
Gulf of Uraba, Pedrarias sent a messenger to 
Vasco Nufiez to inform him of his arrival. The 
messenger did not find Vasco Nufiez surrounded 
by any of the usual signs of power and splendour, 
but clothed in a cotton shirt, loose drawers and 
sandals, overlooking and helping some Indians to 
put a straw-thatch on a house. On hearing the 
message, Vasco Nunez, who had no doubt well 
considered his part, sent a respectful welcome to 
the new governor, and said that the colonists were 
ready to receive him. The little colony now 
consisted of four hundred and fifty soldiers, men 
inured to danger, and, to use the expressive words 
of the original, ^^ tanned with labours." It is said 
that there was much discussion among them as to 
how they should receive Pedrarias ; and the his- 
torian Herrera thinks, but not justly as it seems 
to me, that these four hundred and fifty men could 
have mastered the fifteen hundred whom Pedrarias 
brought with him. In a month's time this might 
have been so ; but at present these fifteen hundred 
men, being chosen persons, full of hope and con- 
fidence, admirably equipped, and with the terror 
of the king's name, would have scattered Vasco 


Nunez's men like chaff before the wind. Coun- 
sels of peace prevailed ; and it was agreed that 
they should go out unarmed, and in the peaceful 
dress of magistrates, not of soldiers. The old 
colonists, therefore, — one of them certainly with 
a heavy heart, but all with apparent joyfulness — 
came out to meet their countrymen, singing the 
Te Deum, Pedrarias landed and billeted his men. 
This was on the 30th of June, 1514. 

It is a custom, I believe, even in our own 
times, that, in some departments, the minister 
coming in should have a long conference with the 
minister going out; and if this is requisite in settled 
countries, it was far more so in those new-found 
states, where the inhabitants, the climate, the pro- 
visions, the geography, and the mode of warfare 
were all unknown to the new comers. On the 
day after his arrival, Pedrarias summoned Vasco 
Nuiiez to his presence, and with gracious words 
respecting the appreciation of Vasco's services, 
which was now entertained at Court, requested 
him to give an exact account of this new land, 
and of the men who inhabited it. Vasco Nuiiez 
replied fittingly to this courtesy, and promised to 
give an account in writing, which he did in the 


course of two days^ and which contained the whole 
narrative of his administration, that had now con- 
tinued for three years. He also described the 
rivers, fissures {quehradas), and mountains where 
he had found gold, the caciques whom he had 
made allies (these were more than twenty), and 
his journey of discovery to the South Sea and to 
the ^^ Rich Isle," as it was called, of pearls. It is 
probable that Vasco Nuiiez may on this occasion 
have given some account of what he supposed to 
be the population of Darien, which is stated to 
have been above two millions. 

The first thing after this to be done was to 
take the residencia of Vasco Nunez, the result 
of which was that, for the injuries done to Enciso 
and others, he was condemned to pay several 
thousand castellanosy and was put into confine- 
ment, but afterwards, in consideration of his 
services, was set free. 

The next thing was to make settlements in 
those territories, where Vasco Nunez had sug- 
gested they should be made, when he was advising 
the expedition to discover the South Sea. But in 
the mean time Pedrarias's people began to fall ill. 
The situation of Darien w^as very unhealthy ; and 
the new comers not only suffered from the effects 


of the climate, but from those of sheer hunger. 
On disembarking, the provisions brought by the 
fleet had been divided among the men, but the 
flour and the greatest part of the provisions were 
found to have been spoilt by the sea. The old 
colonists were not in any way prepared for such 
an accession to their numbers, and there were no 
neighbouring Indians who might assist in such an 
emergency. The expedition had thus sailed into the 
very jaws of famine. Men clad in silks and bro- 
cades absolutely perished of hunger, and might be 
seen feeding like cattle upon herbage. One of 
the principal hidalgos went through the streets 
saying that he was perishing of hunger, and in 
sight of the whole town dropped down dead. In 
less than a month seven hundred men perished. 

Pedrarias himself was taken ill, and by the 
advice of physicians went to a station at a little 
distance from the town. All these misfortunes 
delayed the sending out of the expeditions, and 
probably indisposed the minds of men for the 
adventure they had come upon.* They must 

* Some of the principal men were allowed to return to 
Spain ; and they went to Cuba, and many engaged in the 
expeditions sent out from that island. 


have felt disappointed and desperate, and there- 
fore were ready for any cruelty. 

One of the first of his captains, whom Pedrarias 
sent out, was Juan de Ayora, who entered into 
the territories of Vasco Nunez's friendly chiefs, 
to make settlements there. He proved himself a 
terrible tyrant, and undid all the good, that Vasco 
Nuiiez's wise policy had begun. He obtained 
a large quantity of gold, but neither the king, 
nor Pedrarias, nor the expedition was any the 
better for this gold, as Juan took ship, and, fur- 
tively making off with his plunder, was never 
heard of more in Darien. 

There are signs, however, of an understanding 
springing up between the governor and Vasco 
Nunez; for the bishop, who had come out with 
Pedrarias, suggested that Hurtado, the great 
friend and ally of Vasco Nuiiez, should be sent 
out to see ^^what God had done with the lieu- 
tfiliant Juan de Ayora." 
/ The next enterprise worth mentioning is thatf 
^ entrusted to the Bachiller Enciso, but it was 
attended with no results. It is probable that all 
this time the prudent and thoughtful Pizarro had 
never once forgotten what he had heard of the 


j nations of the South Sea ; for he holds himself 1 
aloof from every expedition, that is not directed to 

p" those parts. 

But now Pedrarias determines to send one 
under Gaspar de Morales to the South Sea, to 
find pearls in the islands in the Gulf of San 
Miguel. Vasco Nunez had been anxious to visit 
these islands, but had been dissuaded from doing 
so by his friend Chiapes. Pizarro joined himself 
to this expedition, and was employed as second 
in command. It committed the most dreadful 
cruelties, and aroused the most deadly hatred in 
the Indians. 

They formed a great conspiracy to destroy 
Morales, in which no fewer than twenty caciques 
were concerned. By torture Morales managed 
to obtain some intelligence of what was going on, 
and succeeded in defeating the plans of the con- 
spirators. The caciques, whom he captured, he 
gave to his dogs to tear in pieces. And yet in 
this very territory Morales had been received in 
the most friendly manner. He now directed his 
course to the territory of a cacique, called Biru, at 
the eastern end of the Gulf of San Miguel. It 
is conjectured to have been from a corruption 


of his name that the great kingdom of Peru was 
so called. This chief pressed the Spaniards so 
closely, that^ though victorious, they did not think 
it worth their while to stay in his territory. 
Morales made, therefore, his way, with all speed, 
back to Darien. Meanwhile, the people of the 
caciques, whom he had thrown to his dogs, joined 
themselves to the Cacique Birti, and hovered about 
his rear. To free himself, the Spanish commander, 
had recourse to a most cruel expedient. He 
stabbed his Indian captives at intervals, as he 
went along, hoping thus to occupy the pursuing 
Indians. This incident is alluded to in becoming 
terms of indignation by Vasco Nunez, now a 
critical observer of other men's doings, in a letter 
to the king, where he says that a more cruel deed 
was never heard of among Moors, Christians, or 
any other people. Oviedo speaks of this trans- 
action as an ^^ Herodian cruelty," and states that 
ninety or a hundred persons perished through it. 
However atrocious, it seems to me to be surpassed 
by many of the transactions in the Terra-firma, 
and it had at least the justification of being done 
in self-defence.* At last Morales and his men, 

* If these captives, whom they stabbed and dropped, as 


having fought their way with immense valour, 
if such a word can be justly applied to the pro- 
ceedings of such men, and having had the most 
frightful difficulties and sufferings to contend 
with from the nature of the country they passed 
through, reached Darien. Pizarro was the second 
in command here; it certainly was a terrible 
school, in which to bring up the future conqueror 
of Peru. 

All these expeditions had been so manifestly 
unsuccessful, that the Governor of Darien began 
to take the state of affairs much to heart. He 
ordered the melting-house, Casa de la Fundicion^ 
to be closed — a most clear signal of distress ; he 
also, in conjunction with the bishop, ordered public 
prayers to be offered up, that God might remove 
His anger from them. I do not find, however, 
that any change of policy took place in accordance 
with these prayers, unless it was that the next 
expedition seems to have been sent out in a dif- 
ferent direction. But it, like the others, proved 

they went along, were the daughters and wives of the 
Indians, whom the Spaniards are represented as having 
captured in the midst of some festivity, it was an act of 
cruelty seldom equalled. 


Then Espinosa, Pedrarias's alcalde mayor, had 
an opportunity of retrieving the fortunes of the co- 
lony, and restoring peace of mind to the governor. 
A monk, who accompanied the expedition, upon his 
return to Spain, stated that he had seen with his 
own eyes, killed by the sword or thrown to savage 
dogs, in this expedition of Espinosa's, above forty 
thousand souls. This seems almost incredible, 
but let no one doubt it, or imagine that he can 
realize to his mind what such an expedition would 
be capable of, until he has fully pictured to him- 
self what his own nature might become, if he 
formed one of such a band, toiling in a new fierce 
clime, enduring miseries unimagined by him be- 
fore, gradually giving up all civilized ways, growing 
more and more indifferent to the destruction of 
life,— the life of animals, of his adversaries, of his 
companions, even his own, — retaining the adroit- 
ness and sagacity of man, and becoming fell, reck- 
less, and rapacious, as the fiercest brute of the forest. 
Not more different is the sea, when, some mid- 
summer morning, it comes with its crisp, delicate 
little waves, fondling up to your feet, like your 
own dog, — and the same sea, when, storm-ridden, 
it thunders in against you with foam and fury 


like a wild beast ; than is the smiling, prosperous, 
civilized man, restrained by a thousand invisible 
fetters, who has not known real hunger for years, 
from the same man, when he has starved and 
fought and bled, been alternately frozen and 
burned up, and when his life, in fact, has become 
one mad blinding contest with all around him. 

Espinosa's expedition, however murderous, was 
not unsuccessful in the way in which success was 
then reckoned ; for he recovered some gold, that 
had been lost on a previous expedition, and brought 
back eighty thousand pesos and two thousand 
slaves. Pascual de Andagoya, one of the cap- 
tains in it, says that " all this company of slaves 
perished at Darien, as did all the rest who were 
brought there." 

Throughout these expeditions in the Terra- 
firma, which would else be as interesting as they 
are important, the reader is vexed and distracted 
by new and uncouth names of people and of places. 
The very words Rome, Constantinople, London, 
Genoa, Venice stir the blood, and arrest the 
attention; any small incident in their fortunes 
enjoys some of the accumulated interest, which is 
bound up with these time-honoured names ; while 


it requires an effort of imagination to care about 
what may happen to Comogra, Dabaye^ Poncha, 
or Pocorosa. It is only on perceiving the im- 
mense importance of those events, which happen 
in the early days of new-found countries, that 
we can sufficiently arouse our attention to con- 
sider such events at all. 

Then, however, we may see that the fate of 
future empires, and the distribution of races over 
the face of the earth depend upon the painful 
deeds of a few adventurers and unrenowned native 
chieftains ; they themselves being like players, 
whose names and private fortunes we do not care 
much about, but who are acting in some great 
drama, the story of which concerns the whole 


Vasco Nunez restless — sends for men on his own account — - 
The Governor is angry. — Vasco Nunez receives the title of 
Adelantado from the Court of Spain — is reconciled to the 
Governor.^ espouses his daughter — is sent hy the Governor 
to Ada to build ships for the Sea of the South — carries the 
materials across the isthmus — is suspected hy the Governor, 
Pizarro is sent to arrest him. — Vasco Nunez is tried, con- 
victed of high treason, and executed. 

"HILE all those expeditions, which have 
been mentioned in the previous chapter, 
were being carried on, and in one of 
which Pizarro was employed, it will not be sup- 
posed that Vasco Nunez, with all his activity and 
energy — a man of whom it had been said that 
" he could not be quiet, while his bread was being 
baked" — was patient or at rest. It has been seen 
that he had become a critical observer of men's 
actions ; but looking on was not likely to satisfy 
a man of his restless disposition. 


Many and severe must have been the com- 
parisons, made by the men who had served under 
him, between the successful mode, in which he had 
alternately soothed and terrified the Indian ca- 
ciques, and the unsuccessful manner, in which the 
captains of Pedrarias had prosecuted their dis- 
astrous adventures. As, therefore, Pedrarias did 
not seem likely to employ him, he at length re- 
solved to undertake au expedition of his own, and 
sent secretly to Cuba for men, to accompany him 
in peopling the coasts of the Southern Sea. 

While his messenger, Andres Garavito, was 
away on this errand, Pedrarias, perhaps at the 
solicitation of the Bishop of Darien, or it might 
have been from motives of policy, resolved to 
employ him in making an entrance (a favourite 
phrase of the Spaniards) into the country of Da- 
baye, of which Vasco had written great accounts 
to the Court of Spain. But, encountering here 
the Indians on the water, he completely failed, 
got wounded, and escaped with difficulty. It may 
be imagined that this ill-success was not dis- 
pleasing to the captains of Pedrarias, or, indeed, 
to the governor himself. 

It was seen that Vasco Nunez, soon after his 


discovery of the South Sea, had sent a man named 
Arbolanche to the Court of Spain with the good 
news and with rich presents. This messenger 
did not come in time to stop the appointment of 
Pedrarias; but the tidings, which Arbolanche 
brought, were well received ; and the king not 
only pardoned Vasco Nunez, but conferred upon 
him the title of Adelantado. Hitherto it had been 
the fashion at the Court of Spain to speak very 
slightingly of Vasco Nunez ; but this intelligence 
of the discovery of the South Sea — the greatest 
that had reached the mother country, since Colum- 
bus had brought back the tidings and the signs of 
a new world, — must have changed in great mea- 
sure the opinions of the King and of the Court 
respecting Vasco Nunez. Joined with this title 
of Adelantado, the government of Coyva and 
Panama was also granted to him. Coyva is a 
small island where Vasco Nunez thought that 
there were pearls. The king did not omit to en- 
deavour to make Pedrarias and Vasco Nufiez act 
harmoniously together, recommending the go- 
vernor to show all kindness to so useful a servant 
of the Crown as Vasco Nunez; and Vasco Nunez 
to please Pedrarias as much as possible. But, as 


one of Vasco Nunez's biographers observes, '^ that 
which was easy at court was impossible at Darien, 
where factions prevented it." 

Not long after this time Andres Garavito, the 
messenger whom Vasco Nuiiez had sent to Cuba, 
returned with seventy men, and all the necessary 
provisions for an expedition, and came to place 
himself under the orders of Vasco Nunez. But, 
when at six leagues from the port, he sent secretly 
to advise Vasco Nunez of his arrival ; but the 
intelligence also reached the ears of the governor, 
who ordered Vasco Nunez to be arrested and sent 
to prison. At the entreaty, however, of the Bishop 
of Darien, the governor did not send Vasco 
Nunez to prison, but set him free on certain con- 
ditions, which were arranged between them. 

Vasco Nunez was now left for some time in 
neglect, and might have remained so, but for the 
interposition of the Bishop of Darien, between 
whom and Vasco Nuiiez a strong friendship or 
alliance had sprung up. The bishop succeeded 
in making Vasco Nunez and the governor friends, 
and he proposed to cement this friendship by the 
strongest family bonds, suggesting that Pedrarias 
should give his daughter in marriage to Vasco 


Nunez. The governor assented ; the espousals 
were formally made ; but the young lady herself 
was in Spain. 

Pedrarias now sent Vasco Nunez to occupy a 
town in the port of Ada, whence he was to pre- 
pare to embark upon the South Sea. Ada, how- 
ever, was on one side of the Isthmus, and the 
South Sea on the other. It was the bold, and, 
considering the number of lives that were con- 
sumed by it, the cruel scheme of Vasco Nuiiez to 
prepare for the construction of his vessels at Ada, 
and to carry the materials overland to the South 

His first vessels, which were prepared only 
after unheard-of labour and terrific loss of life 
among the Indians, were rendered useless by the 
wood having been eaten through and through 
with worms. The next set, before they were 
completed, were partly swept away, partly buried 
in mud and slime by a high tide, which drove the 
terrified workmen up into the trees for safety. 
They failed, too, in obtaining food, so that Vasco 
Nunez himself was obliged to live upon such 
roots of the earth, as he could get. 

Receiving, however, fresh supplies from the 


governor, the Adelantado with incredible labour 
contrived to build two brigantines ; there were 
two more also, almost completed. 

It happened that about this time a report had 
reached Ada that Pedrarias was to be super- 
seded, and Lope de Sosa appointed Governor of 
the Terra-firma. This, which some time ago would 
have been most joyous news, was now most un- 
welcome ; his fortunes and those of his future 
father-in-law being bound up together. Talking 
one evening with two friends, one named Valder- 
rabano, and the other a clerigo, named Eodrigo 
Perez, about the news of Lope de Sosa's coming, 
Vasco Nuriez observed that Francis Garavito had 
better go to Ada to ask for the iron and pitch 
which we want, and if there is a new governor 
he will probably receive us well; if Pedrarias 
should still be in power, he can let him know in 
what state we are, and he will provide what we 
want; and then we shall set out on our voyage, 
of which I hope the success will be such as we so 
much desire. This conversation was very inno- 
cent. But it happened that, as Vasco Nuiiez was 
talking, it began to rain, and the sentinel took 
shelter under the eaves of the hut, where Vasco 


and his friends were sitting; and he heard just 
so much of the conversation, as would convey the 
idea to him that Vasco Nunez proposed to his 
companions to go away with the ships, and make 
the expedition on their own account. 

Meanwhile, Andres Garavito, having had a quar- 
rel v>^ith Vasco Nunez about the Indian woman, 
daughter of Careta, who was much beloved by 
Vasco Nunez, revenged himself by informing the 
governor that Vasco Nunez intended freeing him- 
self from his command. It is probable, too, that 
by this time the governor had heard from Spain 
of a letter, which Vasco Nunez had sent thither, 
bearing date the 16th October 1515, in which 
were the strongest expressions of blame respecting 
the conduct of the government and the character 
of the governor. In it he tells the king of the 
atrocities committed by the captains of Pedrarias, 
of their turning friendly Indians into watchful 
enemies, ravaging the country, branding slaves in 
the most reckless manner, and desolating the land 
to such an extent, that, as he justly prophesies, 
hereafter it will not be possible to find a remedy 
for it. He speaks of the confusion in the govern- 
ment, of the want of concert and unity of pur- 


pose, of the neglect of the king's hacienda. He 
then proceeds to give his opinion of the governor's 
character : '^ He is a man, in whom reign all the 
envy and covetousness in the world; he is wretched, 
when he sees that there is friendship between any 
persons of worth ; it delights him to hear fables 
and chatter from one and the other ; he is a man, 
who very lightly gives credit to evil counsels 
rather than to those of good ; he is a person with- 
out any discretion and without any dexterity or 
talent for the affairs of government."* 

Pedrarias could no longer contain himself. Fully 
bent upon revenge for all his real and fancied 
wrongs, he masters his fury sufficiently to write a 
crafty letter, to Vasco Nunez, begging him to 
come to him at Ada, that they might confer to- 
gether upon business. While the governor was 
planning this, Vasco Nunez was quietly and se- 
renely awaiting the return of his messenger, 
Francis Garavito, to bring him intelligence whe- 
ther Lope de Sosa was about to supersede Pedra- 
rias as governor. Whatever that answer might 
be, Vasco Nunez might well feel assured of for- 

* Nav. Col., torn. iii. p. 384. 


tune. If his father-in-law continued in power, 
he might be joined by new adventurers, and be 
sure of fresh supplies; if Lope de Sosa were 
coming, he would sail away with his trustful com- 
pany, free from any superior, and confident in his 
future fortunes ; the light of his unique renown 
throwing forwards a brilliant track in the future, 
along which he would sail to still bolder adven- 
tures and still greater discoveries. And such, in- 
deed, would have been the probable result, had 
he once more spread his sails upon the waters, 
which owned him for their great discoverer. In 
that case, the conquest of Peru would not have 
troubled us much with the name or the deeds of 
the ignor ant Pizarro , but would have been made 
by one fitted to govern and reconstruct, as well as 
to conquer. It was a career, with which, in the 
opinions of the men of that age, the stars were 
certain to have much concern ; and, accordingly, 
we learn that a Venetian astrologer and natural 
philosopher, called Micer Codro, who had come to 
those parts to see the world, had told Vasco 
NuSez that, the year in which he should see a 
certain star, which the astrologer pointed out, in 
such a place of the heavens, he would run great 


risk of his life ; but, if he escaped that danger, he 
would be the greatest and richest lord in all the 

Walkino; one evenino; — an evenino; in the tro- 
pics, where Nature is so large and so gracious, — 
probably along the sea-shore, whence he could 
see his brigantines lying idly in the harbour, 
Vasco Nunez looked up, and beheld his fateful 
star in the quarter of the heavens, which the 
astrologer had pointed out to him. In the merry 
mood of a man who is near his doom — what the 
Scotch call " fey," — he turned to his attendants, 
and began to mock at the propheoy. " A sensible 
man, indeed, would he be, who should believe in 
diviners, especially in Micer Codro, who told me 
this and this (here he related the Italian's words 
of omen) ; and, behold, I see the star he spoke of, 
when I find myself with four ships and three 
hundred men on the Sea of the South, just about 
to navigate it." Though Vasco Nunez did thus 
despise the prophecy, it was a very judicious one 
(there is no little wisdom sometimes in the words 
of charlatans, a wisdom built upon great know- 
ledge of life) ; for men's fortunes come to a focus, 
or rather to a point, in the intersection of many 


curves of other lines and circumstances ; and what 
is done by them then has life and warmth in it, 
and can be done then only. It was easy to per- 
ceive, even for a person less versed in the foibles 
and wild wishes of mankind than an astrologer 
would be, that Vasco Nunez was rapidly nearing 
some such crisis in his stormy life. 

It will be inferred also that this was a great 
crisis, too, in the life of Pizarro ; if Vasco suc- 
ceeded, Pizarro would be compelled to be content 
to play a subordinate part for ever. In that case 
he would lose much glory, but would also escape 
much infamy; for every child, in connecting 
the name of Pizarro with Peru, has learned to 
think of him, as the destroyer of thousands of un- 
offending and unresisting Indians. It is not quite 
clear that Pizarro saw that the rising of Vasco 
Nunez's star was the declining of his own, but 
undoubtedly he felt that, as long as Vasco Nunez 
was on the stage, his part was merely secondary. 
At any rate he had separated himself from Vasco 
and his fortunes ; indeed, from the time of Enciso's 
return with Pedrarias, Pizarro seems to have sided 
with those, who were hostile to Vasco Nunez. It 
must be remembered that Enciso came out as 


alguazil mayor under Pedrarias, and we shall 
soon see proofs of the intimate connection, that 
lay at this time between Pizarro and Enciso, the 
implacable enemy of Vasco Nunez. 

While Vasco Nunez was contemplating his 
future fortunes in such a confident spirit, he was 
little aware that the sleepless furies were even 
then close behind him. Dramatically, at that 
very moment when he was gazing upon his star 
in the fateful quarter of the heavens; really, a 
few days afterwards, a messenger from Pedrarias 
brought a treacherous letter to him in the Island 
of Tortoises. No one sent a word of warning to 
him, not even his own messenger at Ada ; per- 
haps the governor had confided to no one his real 
intent. Vasco Nunez went with the utmost rea- 
diness to meet his father-in-law at Ada. Now at 
least, two men must have known of the governor's 
intent to arrest him, and those were the alguazil 
mayor, Enciso, and Francisco Pizarro ; the latter 
of whom was sent out from Ada with soldiers on 
the road to meet Vasco Nuiiez, and seize his per- 
son. When Vasco Nuiiez saw Pizarro and the 
soldiers waiting to arrest him, he exclaimed, 
*^ What is this, Francisco Pizarro, you were not 


wont to come out in this fashion to receive me?" 
But he attempted neither flight nor resistance; 
and^ being thus taken, he was put into the house 
of a man, called Casteneda, while the Licentiate 
Espinosa was ordered to proceed against him with 
all rigour. It is worth remarking that this very 
Espinosa was afterwards a silent partner with Pi- 
zarro, in furnishing out the expedition to Peru. 

At first, Pedrarias pretended that Espinosa was 
to proceed against Vasco Nunez only to give him 
an opportunity of justifying himself; but, after- 
wards, he showed his true wishes, and broke out 
into violent reproaches against his son-in-law, who 
protested that he was innocent of the meditated 
offence laid to his charge, asking why should he 
have come to Ada to meet Pedrarias, if he had 
not been conscious of his innocence ? It was not 
difiicult to form a good indictment against Vasco 
Nunez, introducing the imprisonment of Enciso, 
the death of Nicuesa, and the reported conversa- 
tion of Vasco Nunez with his friends, partially 
overheard by the sentinel, which must have been 
the main ground of the charge. Vasco denies the 
treason imputed to him. Witnesses are sought 
for to prove the crimes which he has committed ; 


his words from the beginning are collected (this 
is the point at which a friend's hostility, i. e. if it 
is held that Andres Garavito, his former friend 
and ally, had turned against him, would be so 
fatal), and his offence is judged to be worthy 
of death. The Licentiate Espinosa, in giving a 
report to Pedrarias of the result of the process, 
said that Vasco Nunez had incurred the penalty 
of death, but, taking into consideration the emi- 
nent services, which he had rendered to the state, 
the licentiate recommended that his life should 
be spared. Pedrarias, however, was implacable. 
" Since he has sinned, let him die for it," was the 
exclamation of the fiery old man ; and he ordered 
the sentence to be instantly carried into effect, 
which was that they should cut off Vasco Nunez's 
head, the crier going before him, and saying with 
a loud voice, " This is the justice, which our lord 
the King, and Pedrarias, his lieutenant, in his 
name, command to be done upon this man, as a 
traitor and usurper of the lands subject to the 
royal crown." It was in vain that Vasco Nuiiez 
protested against the sentence. He was beheaded, 
and after him four of his friends, who were impli- 
cated in the so-called conspiracy ; among whom 


was the lay friend Valderrabano, to whom he 
confided his intentions on that evening, which 
proved so fatal to him. The Clerigo, probably on 
account of his profession, escaped a like fate. 

Thus perished Vasco Nunez de Balboa, in the 
forty-second year of his age ; the man, who, since 
the time of Columbus, had shown the most states- 
man-like and warrior-like powers in that part of 
the world, but whose career was cut short, before 
he had had time to do more than to follow in the 
paths of Ojeda, and Nicuesa, and the other unfor- 
tunate commanders, who devastated those beautiful 
regions of the earth. He had helped to pull down, 
and was cut off, before he had the opportunity to 
attempt to reconstruct, and reorganize. But, at 
least, his death left the path to Peru open to 
Pizarro, though not immediately ; for Vasco 
Nunez was beheaded a.d, 1517, but it was not 
until November, A.D. 1524, that Pizarro sailed upon 
his first expedition to Peru. An interval of seven 
years has to pass by, and during those years, in 
the restless eagerness of the Spaniards on the 
Isthmus for discoveries, it seems wonderful that 
Peru should not have yielded up herself before 


Pedrarias uses Vasco Nunez's ships — Espinosa sent out — 
Gil Gonqalez — The Spice Islands — Lope de Sosa dies — 
Pizarro takes to cattle farming — Almagro his partner — 
Nicaragua — Panama — Hernandez de Cordova sent against 
Gil Gonqalez — Pascual de Andagoya's Expedition towards 
Peru — Juan de Basarto is allowed to make a voyage to- 
wards Peru — Dies — Pizarro and Almagro come forward — 
The triumvirate. 

|T was not likely that Pedrarias would 
leave those ships, which Vasco Nunez 
had constructed with such incredible 
toil, and which, at his death, were lying ready at 
anchor in the Sea of the South, unemployed. 
As soon, however, as the news of Vasco Nunez's 
execution reached Spain, Gil Gon9alez Davila, 
who had formerly been attached to the household 


of the Bishop of Burgos, received permission to 
use those ships on a proposed expedition to the 
Spice Islands. This was done on the supposition 
that Lope de Sosa would supersede Pedrarias as 
Governor of Darien. But Lope de Sosa never 
reached Darien alive ; Pedrarias, therefore, con- 
tinued governor : but, even before the death of 
Lope de Sosa, which happened a. d. 1518, the co- 
vetous old man had not failed to take advantage of 
Yasco Nunez's death, and to make use of his prepa- 
rations for discovery in the South Sea. The Licen- 
tiate Espinosa, the very man who had the charge 
of the prosecution of Vasco Nuiiez, was sent by 
him to take possession of his ships, and to see 
whether anything could be made out of his de- 
signs. A great mistake was here made in not 
joining Pizarro with this expedition ; for what, in 
Vasco Nunez's hands, or indeed under Pizarro, 
would have ended in the discovery of Peru, now 
turned out a fruitless enterprise, Espinosa, in- 
stead of going south, where he would have come 
upon Peru, went northwards ; and returned with 
only having discovered a small extent of country, 
as far as Cape Blanco. 

Gil Gon9alez, although disappointed in finding 


the government of Darien still in the hands of 
Pedrarias, and Vasco Nunez's ships occupied in an 
expedition, did not give up his idea, but perse- 
vered in preparing other ships on the South Sea ; 
and at last, in January, 1522, set sail from an 
island in the Gulf of San Miguel, in order to 
discover the Spice Islands. It is singular to 
notice how no one at this time thought of any- 
thing, but the Spice Islands. It seemed to all, 
both to the monarchs of Spain, to their statesmen, 
and to their captains, that the most desirable en- 
terprise, which maritime daring could accomplish 
for their nation, was the discovery of these Spice 
Islands. It is that idea, undoubtedly, which 
reserved Peru for Pizarro, who at this time had 
not sufficient influence to obtain the command 
of any public expedition, and had not means at 
his disposal to furnish out one at his private ex- 
pense. He must, however, have felt that what- 
ever he wished to do must be done at his own 
private cost ; for, keeping the report of Peru and 
her riches, which he had heard from the mouth 
of Comogre's son, in mind, he took to cattle 
farming. His partner in this occupation was a 
man named Almao-ro. 


The land of Kublai Khan was not more at- 
tractive to Columbus, than the Spice Islands to 
the Spanish sovereigns. Gil Gon9alez therefore 
set out, bent on discovering them. The notions, 
which the Spaniards had of geography, must have 
been somewhat limited and incorrect, for they 
turned their course to the north-west instead of 
to the south-west. That saved Peru. They dis- 
covered the whole coast of Nicaragua, and made 
considerable incursions into the interior. The dis- 
coveries on the southern side of the Isthmus were 
now considerable; and Pedrarias, taking advantage 
of Espinosa's small discovery on the north-west 
coast, claimed the whole of Gil Gon9alez's newly- 
discovered country, Nicaragua ; and, that he 
might be nearer the spot to maintain his rights, 
established an important station at Panama, on 
the southern side of the Isthmus, — a proceeding 
of the utmost importance in facilitating the con- 
quest of Peru; for, without a station of some 
magnitude on the southern side, whence supplies 
of food and reinforcements could easily be drawn, 
the conquest of a large country like Peru would 
have been almost impossible. It was here, at 
Panama, that Pizarro and Almagro had their 


repartimientos of Indians^ and here their cattle- 
farms were. The old governor met with no little 
trouble in asserting his right to the government of 
Nicaragua ; for his captain, Francisco Hernandez 
de Cordova, after driving out Gil Gon9alez, wished 
to free himself from Pedrarias's authority, and to 
hold his command directly from the audiencia of 
Hispaniola, at whose head was Don Diego Co- 
lumbus, the son of the great discoverer. These 
auditors were, theoretically, the most powerful 
body in the New World. Pedrarias, however, 
proceeded at once into Nicaragua, and held a 
courtmartial on his unfortunate lieutenant; who 
made no attempt to escape, and was forthwith 
convicted and beheaded, A. D. 1526. 

The idea of an expedition to Peru had not been 
during this time altogether abandoned ; for Pas- 
cual de Andagoya, one of Espinosa's captains, with 
Espinosa's assistance, obtained the consent of the 
governor to a voyage in the " Sea of the South," 
in the year 1522. He had an encounter with the 
natives of Biru, and, it is said, reduced seven of 
the lords of the country into obedience to the 
king of Spain. He gained additional knowledge 
of the coast southwards, which he afterwards 



imparted to Pizarro. Meeting, however, with an 
accident which disabled him, he returned to Pa- 
nama. The attention of the governor was now 
taken up with his conquest of Nicaragua ; and he 
would hear of nothing else. But when Gil Gon- 
9alez had been driven out a certain man named 
Juan Basarto, to whom Pedrarias was under obli- 
gation for his having brought men and horses to 
aid in the Nicaraguan conquest, came forward and 
requested to be allowed to make an expedition to 
Peru. The governor consented, but Juan de 
Basarto died; this was early in 1524. It was 
at this juncture that Pizarro and Almagro, having 
made a considerable sum of money by their cattle- 
farming, came forward and offered to take up the 
expedition. This Almagro, of whom a great 
deal will be heard from this time forward, was 
the son of a labouring man, with no taint, how- 
ever, of Moorish or Jewish blood, bred up in a 
town belonging to the Order of Calatrava. Im- 
patient of a labourer's life, he had taken service 
with a licentiate who lived at the Court of Fer- 
dinand and Isabella. It happened that, in a quarrel 
with another youth, he stabbed him; and, not 
daring to await his trial, he fled, wandering hither 


and thither, until finally he came to the Indies, and 
was one of the soldiers employed under Pedrarias. 
Almagro was, however, in character totally dis- 
similar to his partner Pizarro. While Pizarro 
was slow, taciturn, reserved, Almagro was alert, 
impulsive, generous, and wonderfully skilled in 
gaining the hearts of men. They had, some little 
time before, taken into partnership (undoubtedly 
with a view to an expedition at their own private 
cost to the Sea of the South), a very different 
person to themselves, named Fernando de Luque, 
a clerigo and a schoolmaster. This clerigo was a 
favourite with the Governor Pedrarias, and had a 
much better repartimiento than the other part- 
ners, situated close to theirs, on the bank of the 
river Chagre, four leagues from Panama. It has 
been discovered in modern times that the Licen- 
tiate Espinosa, the prosecutor of the unfortunate 
Vasco Nunez, was also a silent partner, and that 
it was on his account principally that De Luque 
joined the partnership. At any rate, the resources 
of De Luque, the steady management of Pizarro, 
and the keen activity of Almagro made the part- 
nership a prosperous concern. By their cattle- 
farms they realized fifteen or eighteen thousand 


pesos of gold ; and well would It have been for 
all of them, had they been contented to remain as 
country gentlemen. But their cattle-farming was 
but the means to an end. And, therefore, when 
Juan de Basarto died, these three men came for- 
ward and offered to undertake his expedition ; 
and that was no less than the conquest of Peru. 
The agreement between the partners was, that 
the division of profits should be equal.* The 
division of labour is well stated by Garcilaso de la 
Vaga, when he says that Fernando de Luque was 
to remain in Panama, to take care and make the 
most of the property of the three associates ; Pi- 
zarro was to undertake the discovery and con- 
quest; Almagro was to go and come, bringing 
supplies of men and arms to Pizarro, and then 
returning to De Luque, thus making himself the 
medium of communication between Panama and 
Peru. This company was much laughed at then, 
and the schoolmaster got the name of Fernando el 
loco (Fernando the Madman), though the trium- 
virate was afterwards compared to the memorable 

* Pedrarias afterwards became a partner in the enter- 
prize, and was to receive a fourth of the profits. 


Eoman one of Lepidus^ Marc Antony, and Octa- 
vius. It was remarked at the time, and intended 
to be a sarcasm, that these Spanish triumvirs were 
all elderly men (Pizarro was now fifty-four years 
old) ; but the remark was not a very wise one, for 
it has never been found that ambition or the love 
of novelty dies out of the human heart at any 
certain age. All men, too, are but children in 
those things which they have not experienced; 
and not one of these three associates had been 
what he would have called a successful man. 
The disappointed are ever young ; at least, they 
are as anxious to undertake new things, as the 
most hopeful among the young. Moreover, the 
principal partner, Pizarro, was haunted by a fixed 
idea, namely, the discovery of rich regions in the 
southern seas, — the words of Comogre's son had 
been a sort of light beckoning him for ever on to 
riches and to fame ; he had witnessed the attempts 
of others to grasp what he knew lay in the un- 
known south, and each time fortune had struck 
them down, or diverted them away. The south 
lay for him; and advancing years only lent a 
fiercer aspect to this idea, as they narrowed him 
in, and left less and less time for its development. 


Pizarro sets sail — his difficulties — is wounded — recommences 
his voyage — his dispute with Almagro — some of his men 
leave him — his sufferings — succour comes — Tumhez — he 
receives two young Indians — returns to Panama. 

^^^^ HE voyage of Pizarro is only second to 
that of Columbus himself. There may 
have been voyages in the history of the 
world more important and more interesting than 
that of Pizarro ; but if so, the details of them 
have been lost. The voyage of Cortes from Cuba 
to the coast of Mexico was but a slight affair in 
the history of that man's remarkable proceedings ; 
but, in Pizarro's life, the voyage is the greatest 
part of the career. 

The preparations for the outfit were commenced 
in 1524. A vessel was bought, which, it is said, 
had been built by Vasco Nunez de Balboa; and 


another was put upon the stocks. The expenses 
were very great. Each shipwright received two 
golden pesos a day, and his food. Moreover, it 
was not possible to go into the market-place, or 
down upon the sea-shore, and enlist at once as 
many soldiers or sailors as might be wanted ; but 
the partners had gradually to form their comple- 
ment of men, providing food and lodgment for 
them when hired, watching for new comers from 
Castille, taking care of them in the illnesses to 
which they were liable on first coming into the 
country, and advancing them small sums of money, 
probably to clear them from debt. At last the 
preparations were complete. The three partners, 
Pizarro, Almagro, and De Luque, heard mass to- 
gether, and rendered the compact more solemn by 
each partaking of the sacrament : and, about the 
middle of November, 1524, Pizarro set sail in one 
vessel, with two canoes, containing eighty men 
and four horses. A treasurer, Nicolas de Rivera, 
and an inspector, Juan Carillo, who was to look 
after the king's fifths, accompanied the expedition. 
Almagro was to follow in the other vessel, with 
more men and provisions. 

Pizarro touched at the island of Taboga, took 


in wood and water at the Pearl Islands, and ar- 
rived at the Puerto de Pinas. From thence he 
made an expedition into the Cacique Biru's coun- 
try. This was a land which, from its rough and 
difficult nature, was very difficult to conquer or to 
occupy. It was a great error to have stopped 
there at all : but probably Pizarro did not wish 
to go too far, for fear of missing the promised re- 
inforcement that was to come with Almagro. 

It may show the difficulties under which the 
expedition was got up by these men, when we 
find Pizarro in his one ship, with eighty men, en- 
during for the next three months when Almagro 
joined them, the most dreadful privations. It 
seems as if the partners thought anything was 
better than deferring the starting of the expedi- 
tion until larger means had been procured, or re- 
turning discomfited to Panama. For here they 
were in a desert or deserted country, suffering 
incredibly from hunger, and finding nothing wor- 
thy of all this suffering. They proceeded ten 
leagues down the coast, and arrived at a port 
which they called Puerto de la Hambre, the Port 
of Hunger. Nothing was to be got there but 
wood and water. They again sailed on for ten 


successive days. The provisions they had brought 
with them were growing less and less, and finally 
the rations appointed for each man were but two 
ears of maize a day. Water also began to fail 
them. The more impatient of the crew talked 
of returning to Panama. Pizarro, with a power 
of endurance and a mildness that belonged to his 
character, and which he must have often seen 
exercised by Vasco Nunez under similar circum- 
stances, did his best to console his men, and to 
encourage them by the high hopes that steadily 
remained before his wistful eyes. They turned 
back, however, and made their way to the Puerto 
de la Hambre. They did not lose heart even 
yet ; and now Pizarro resolved to stop at this de- 
plorable Puerto, and send back the ship to the 
Pearl Islands, to seek for provisions. Neither for 
those who stayed nor for those who went, were 
there any provisions but the dried hide of a cow 
and the bitter palm-buds which are gathered on 
that coast. This was the same food that Pizarro 
had known in early days, when he was left as 
Ojeda's lieutenant at San Sebastian. He was, 
however always on the alert, endeavouring to 
provide any sustenance however wretched, for his 


sick men ; and his constant mind betrayed not the 
slightest sign of being overcome by adversity. 
In labours and dangers he was ever the first. 
Did any expedition promise advantage or help, 
Pizarro would not give to anyone else the la- 
bour, but undertook the management of every- 
thing himself. The Indians of these parts had 
poison for their arrows. The Spaniards saw a 
man die of a wound in four hours. Had the herb 
from which this poison is distilled been found 
lower down the coast, upon the broad plains be- 
yond Tumbez, the conquest of Peru would hardly 
have been made in that generation. 

Pizarro's ship now returned from the Pearl 
Islands with some provisions. But the number 
of Spaniards who died of hunger at the Puerto 
de la Hambre was twenty-seven. 

The whole body now recommenced their voy- 
age, and went further down the coast. Landing 
at a place which they called the Pueblo Quemado, 
they came, at the distance of about a league from 
the shore, upon a deserted Indian town, situated 
on an eminence and having the appearance of a 
fortress. They found also plenty of provisions 
here. The town being near the sea, well-placed 


for defence, and well provisioned, it seemed to 
Pizarro and his men that they might prudently 
make a station here. Their only vessel leaked, 
and they resolved to send it back to Panama to 
get it repaired; but before this Pizarro ordered 
an incursion to be made, in order to secure the 
persons of some of the Indians. The Indians re- 
treated before the attacking party, and, knowing 
the country well, made a circuit, and came down 
upon Pizarro and his few men who had remained 
in the town. Pizarro, an able man-at-arms, with- 
stood the attack bravely, and made himself a 
general mark for the Indians. They pressed 
upon him, wounded him, and he fell down a steep 
descent. They followed, but before they could 
kill him he was upon his legs again, and able to 
defend himself. Some of his men rushed to his 
assistance. The rest of the Spaniards now re- 
turned, and compelled the enemy to take to flight. 

They then resolved to quit the Pueblo Quemado, 
finding that the Indians were too many for them, 
and to return with their ship towards Panama. 

Throughout this extraordinary voyage the 
Spaniards were not fortunate enough to come upon 
any Indian settlement that was suitable for them. 


Sometimes there were too many Indians in the 
vicinity ; more often there were too few. 

Arriving at Chicama, in the government of the 
Terra-firma, they sent from thence the treasurer 
of the expedition, Nicolas de Rivera, in their 
vessel with the gold they had found, to give an 
account to the Governor Pedrarias of what they 
had done and suffered, and of the hopes they still 
had of making some great discovery. Meanwhile, 
they remained at Chicama, a humid, melancholy, 
sickly spot, where it rained continually. 

Almagro, always active, had not forgotten his 
part of the undertaking ; and starting three 
months after Pizarro had set out, came in search 
of him with the other vessel belonging to the 
associates. When Nicolas de Pivera brought up 
at the Island of Pearls, he learned that Almagro 
had passed, and he sent to Pizarro to inform him 
of this joyful intelligence. Proceeding to Panama, 
Rivera informed Pedrarias of what had hap- 
pened. The governor was angry when he heard 
of the death of the many Spaniards who had 
already perished in the expedition. He blamed 
Pizarro for his pertinacity ; and the schoolmaster, 
De Luque, had much difficulty in preventing the 


governor from joining another person in command 
with Pizarro. 

Meanwhile Almagro pursued his way down 
the coast, making diligent search for Pizarro. 
The only traces he could find of him were the 
marks of the Spanish hatchets, where the men 
had landed to cut wood. At last he made an 
entrance into that part of the country which had 
already been so unfortunate for the Spaniards — 
in the neighbourhood of the Pueblo Quemado, 
He found this town inhabited, and fortified with 
palisades. He resolved to take it, and, accordingly, 
commenced the attack with great vigour. The 
Indians defended themselves obstinately. Almagro 
was woTOided in the right eye by a dart, and was 
so pressed upon by the Indians, that he would 
have been left for dead, if he had not been rescued 
by a negro slave of his. Notwithstanding his 
sufferings he renewed the contest, and at last 
succeeded in gaining the place. His men were 
greatly distressed at the accident which had 
befallen their leader. They placed him on a 
litter made of branches of trees, and when the 
pain was assuaged they bore him back to his 


Again they proceeded on their voyage, and 
arrived at the river of San Juan, where the 
country seemed better than any they had passed, 
and where, on both banks of the river, there were 
Indian settlements. They did not venture to 
land, however, and resolved to return to Panama. 
Touching at the Island of Pearls on their way 
back, they learnt that the treasurer, Rivera, had 
passed that way, and had left word that Pizarro 
was at Chicama. Almagro's delight at hearing 
this was great. He had supposed that his com- 
panion was dead. He returned to Chicama and 
found him. The two commanders recounted 
their misfortunes to each other, but resolved to 
persevere in their undertaking. It was arranged 
that Almagro should return to Panama, while 
Pizarro was to maintain his men in the melan- 
choly spot where he then was. 

Almagro found Pedrarias very ill-disposed 
towards the expedition. He was at that time 
about to enter Nicaragua, in order to chastise his 
lieutenant, Francisco Hernandez de Cordova, and 
was not inclined to spare any more men for the 
expedition to Peru. Again, however, De Luque 
persuaded Pedrarias not to withhold his licence 


for the levy of more men, though the governor 
remained still so much displeased with Pizarro, 
that he would not leave him the sole leader of the 
enterprise, but joined Almagro with him in the 
supreme command. Almagro, with two ships, 
and two canoes, with arms, provisions, and a pilot 
named Bartolome Ruiz, set sail from Panama, and 
joined Pizarro at the place where he had left him. 
Pizarro felt deeply the slur cast upon his command 
by Almagro's being joined with him in it, and this 
has been considered* to have been the commence- 
ment of the ill feeling between the two friends. 

The enterprise was prosecuted with renewed 
vigour. The two commanders went down the 
coast, and arrived at a river, which they called the 
River Cartagena, near to the San Juan. Thence 
they made a sudden attack upon one of the towns 
on the River San Juan, in which they were success- 
ful ; for they captured some Indians, and took some 
gold, weighing fifteen thousand pesos^ of an infe- 
rior description. They also found provisions 
there. Returning to their ships, they determined 
to divide their forces. Almagro was to return to 

* See Quintana's Life of Pizarro. 


Panama for more men. Bartolome Ruiz, the 
pilots was to prosecute discovery along the coast. 
Pizarro was to remain with his men where they 

These resolutions were immediately carried 
into execution. Bartolome Kuiz, a very dexter- 
ous pilot, was exceedingly successful in his share 
of the enterprise. He discovered the Island of 
Gallo, went on to the Bay of San Mateo, and 
thence to Coaque. Still pursuing his course in 
a south-westerly direction, he descried, to his 
great astonishment, in the open sea, a large 
object which seemed like a caravel, and had a 
lateen sail. He made for this object and dis- 
covered that it was a raft. He captured it,* and 
found two young men and three women. Inter- 
rogating them by signs, he ascertained that they 

* Almagro afterwards gave an account to Oviedo of 
various things, that were found on board this Peruvian 
vessel, and they were such, as greatly to increase the con- 
fidence of Almagro in the ultimate success of his under- 
taking. There were pottery on board, and woollen clothes 
of exquisite workmanship, also silver and gold; and the 
crew spoke of carrying with them a test-stone for gold, and 
a steel-yard for weighing it and other metals. 


were natives of a place called Tumbez. They 
spoke many times of a king, Huayna Capac, and 
of Cusco, where there was much gold. Bar^ 
tolome Ruiz went on, passed the equinoctial line, 
and arrived at a town called Zalongo. From 
thence he retured to PIzarro. 

This commander and his men needed all the 
comfort, that Ruiz could give them by the 
favourable Intelligence which he brought. It 
was always the business of PIzarro patiently to 
endure great suffering, and to sustain the men 
under his command in the most abject kind of 
adversity. During the absence of Bartolome 
Ruiz they had suffered from sickness and hunger ; 
their clothes were never dry ; they had been un- 
ceasingly plagued by mosquitos, and had been 
attacked, and some of them devoured, by caymans. 
The Indians had not left them unmolested, and 
fourteen of the Spaniards had died at the hands of 
the natives. 

It was now far advanced In the year 1526, and 
Pedro de los RIos had arrived to supersede 
Pedrarias. And Pedrarlas demanded four thousand 
pesos as his price for ceasing to be a partner in the 


After some angry bargaining he consented to 
give up all his claims for a thousand pesos, to be 
paid him at a certain date. This buying Pedrarias 
out shows the extreme confidence which, even at 
a time of great depression and disappointment, 
Almagro at least, had in the ultimate success of 
his undertaking. 

Almagro too found favour with the new 
governor so far as to gain his permission to en- 
list soldiers. Having enlisted about forty, he set 
sail with the requisite provisions from Panama, 
and joined Pizarro at the river San Juan. 

They all re-embarked, intent upon prosecuting 
the discovery which Bartolome Ruiz had already 
commenced. They stopped at the Island of Gallo, 
to refit, passed the bay of San Mateo, and went 
down the coast to a town called Tacamez ; but a 
little plunder, here and there, at the expense of 
much toil, distress, and sacrifice of health and life, 
was the only result. 

At this point there was a good deal of hesitation 
as to their future course, and discussion as to what 
should be done. It is said that Pizarro was for 
returning, no doubt dissatisfied with what appeared 
to be a mere marauding expedition, and one not at 


all equal to the task of discovering and conquering 
the rich countries Comogre's son had spoken of; 
but Almagro was for pursuing the plan that had 
already been so often adopted, namely, that he 
should return for more men to Panama. It must 
not be thought that Pizarro, by counselling the 
return of the expedition to Panama, had lost con- 
fidence in the object he had so long in view ; it is 
more likely that he was convinced of the ineffici- 
ency of their present means, and was willing to 
risk imprisonment for debt at Panama rather than 
waste any more time in unhealthy stations on the 
coast, waiting for the scanty supplies Almagro 
could collect at Panama. Almagro thought that 
their present life was better than dying in prison 
for the debts they had already contracted. Pizarro 
replied that Almagro had not suffered from hunger 
as he had done, otherwise he also would counsel 
return. Upon this Almagro offered to change 
places, suggesting that Pizarro should go for rein- 
forcements, while he remained to take charge of 
the men : Pizarro refused : high words passed 
between them, and swords were drawn. At this 
juncture the treasurer Rivera, and the pilot Bar- 
tolome Euiz interposed, and the old friends were 


reconciled. Pizarro and his men were to stay in 
the island of Gallo^ while Almagro returned again 
to Panama. 

But while the two captains Pizarro and Alma- 
gro, each in their different ways, were firmly bent 
upon doing something in the South, the common 
soldiers were heartily sick of the whole affair. 
One of them contrived to send to the governor of 
Panama a petition concealed in a ball of cotton, 
in which he gave an account of their losses by 
death, and of their sufferings, and concluded his 
petition with some words which afterwards ob- 
tained a great renown in the Indies, and were in 
the mouths of all men there. 

Literally translated they run thus — 

My good Lord Governor, 

Have pity on our woes ; 
For here remains the butcher, 

To Panama the salesman goes. 

The governor, accordingly, sent a lawyer 
name Tafur to the Island of Gallo, to authorize 
the return of all those men under Pizarro 's 
command who wished to make their w^ay back to 

Under these circumstances, it was not to be ex- 


pected that Almagro would be able to gain any 
new recruits. The governor's representative 
Tafur reached the island of Gallo, and the greater 
part of Pizarro's company prepared to depart. 
Pizarro addressed some words to his men, which 
Herrera justly describes as characterized by a 
singular modesty and constancy, and the historian 
might have added, by great prudence also. Pi- 
zarro said, that those who wished to return 
should by all means do so; but that it grieved 
him to think that they were going to endure 
greater sufferings and worse poverty than they 
had already endured, and to lose that which they 
had so long toiled for, as he did not doubt that 
they were on the point of discovering something 
which would console and enrich them all. He 
then reminded them of what those Indians had 
said whom Bartolorae Ruiz had captured. Finally, 
he observed that it gave him very great satisfac- 
tion to reflect that, in all they had undergone, he 
had not excused himself from being the principal 
sufferer, contriving that he should rather want 
than that they should, — and so, he said, it would 
always be. 

The dire pressure, however, of recent suffering, 


and a hungry desire to see home again, were 
too strong to be overcome by the wise and en- 
couraging words of Pizarro. The men accord- 
ingly begged Tafur to take them away with him 
immediately. This lieutenant, however, pitying 
the straits to which Pizarro was reduced, gave him 
a chance of retaining any of his companions, who, 
at the last moment, might be unwilling to leave 
their brave old commander. Tafur, therefore, 
placed himself at one end of his vessel ; and, 
drawing a line, put Pizarro and his men at the 
other. He then said, that those who wished to 
return to Panama should pass over the line, and 
come to him, and those who did not wish to re- 
turn should stay where they were, by the side of 
Pizarro. Fourteen resolute men, amongst whom 
was a mulatto, stood by the side of their chief; 
the rest passed over the line to Tafur. 

This simple story has been told in a very dif- 
ferent way, according to the invincible passion for 
melo-dramatic representation which people of se- 
cond-rate imagination delight in, those especially 
who have not seen much of human affairs and 
w^ho do not know in how plain and unpretending 
a manner the greatest things are, for the most 


part, transacted. The popular story is one which 
may remind the classical reader of the story of 
the choice of Hercules. Assembling his men, 
Pizarro drew his sword, and marked with it a line 
upon the sand from west to east. Then, pointing 
towards the south, the way to Peru, he said, 
" Gentlemen, on that side are labour, hunger, 
thirst, fatigue, wounds, sicknesses, and all the 
other dangers which have to be undergone until 
life is ended. Those who have the courage to 
endure these things and to be my faithful com- 
panions, let them pass the line. Those who feel 
themselves unworthy of so great an enterprise, 
let them return to Panamd, for I wish to force 
no man." Unfortunately for the credit of this 
story we have the evidence, taken before a judge, 
of one of the fourteen brave men who stayed with 
Pizarro, who states simply that ^*^ Pizarro being 
in the island of Gallo, the governor Rios sent for 
the men who were with the said captain, alloAving 
any one who should wish to prosecute the enter- 
prise to remain with him." 

It matters but little, however, to show the exact 
form which the transaction took, except that it 
proves more for the good sense of those men who 


stayed with Pizarro, that they should have been 
induced to do so by the rational arguments which 
he held out to them, and by a constancy of pur- 
pose based upon due consideration of the facts, 
rather than by any momentary enthusiasm, the 
offspring of a sudden and dramatic incident. The 
most notable men among the fourteen were Pedro 
de Candia (a native of the island of Candia), and 
Bartolome Ruiz de Moguer, the pilot of the ex- 

The rest of Pizarro's men went back with Tafur 
to Panama, having endured a fearful amount of 
unrequited suffering, — having, as it were, watched 
through the darkest hours of the night, and not 
being able to abide that last cold hour before the 
sun makes its welcome appearance. 

Pizarro and his fourteen brave companions did 
not venture to stay in the island of Gallo, as it 
was close to the shore, and could, therefore, be 
easily attacked by the Indians; but they went 
over to an uninhabited island, six leagues from 
land, called Gorgona. There, while waiting for 
supplies from Almagro, Pizarro and his men sub- 
sisted upon shell-fish, and whatever things in any 
way eatable they could collect upon the shore. 


In the midst of all their misery they did not forget 
their piety. " Every morning they gave thanks 
to God : at evening-time they said the Salve and 
other prayers appointed for different hours. They 
took heed of the feasts of the Church, and kept 
account of their Fridays and Sundays." Indeed, 
the old Spanish proverb, 

" Si quereis saber orar, 
Aprended a navegar," * 

was thoroughly exemplified in the conduct of 
Pizarro and his men while staying in the inhos- 
pitable island of Gorgona, " which those who have 
seen it compare with the infernal regions." 

Meanwhile, the generous Almagro and the 
good De Luque did not forget their suffering 
partner left on the island. After repeated ap- 
plications, they persuaded the governor to send a 
vessel for Pizarro. Pedro de los Kios consented, 
but attached to his consent the condition that 
Pizarro and his men should return in six months, 
or be subject to heavy penalties. Here then 
was the turning point in Pizarro's history, as dis- 

* " Learn to be a sailor, if you would know how to 


coverer and conqueror of Peru. If the vessel that 
now came for him and his men took them back to 
Panama, as men who had failed, the chances were 
that Pizarro at least would either die in prison, or 
live to see others reaping the results of all his 
patient and persevering labours. The vessel drew 
near: the men for joy, although they knew it was 
a sail, could not believe their eyes. At last, not 
even timiditv itself could doubt ; but it was not 
men, but supplies only, that were brought: and 
the command to return, under a severe penalty, in 
six months. In despair Pizarro and his men re- 
solved to make the most use of the time which 
was allowed them. They set sail southwards, 
keeping close to the shore, and after twenty days 
came in sight of a little island which was opposite 
to Tumbez, and to which they gave the name of 
Santa Clara. 

This island was a sacred spot whither at certain 
times the inhabitants of the mainland came to 
make sacrifices. The Spaniards landed and saw 
a stone idol having the figure of a man, except 
that its head was fashioned in a conical form. A 
much more satisfactory sight was to be seen in 
the rich offerings of precious metal which were 


there — pieces of gold and silver wrought In the 
shape of hands, women's breasts, and heads; a 
large silver jug, which held four gallons of water ; 
also beautifully woven woollen mantles, dyed 
yellow, the mourning colour of the Peruvians. 
The natives whom Bartolome Ruiz had captured 
said that these riches were nothing compared to 
those that were to be found in their country. 

The Spaniards embarked again, and the next 
day discovered a great raft with some of the na- 
tives upon it. Then again, four other rafts. Pi- 
zarro made them return with him to Tumbez, 
and when they arrived there, he gave them leave 
to depart, and entrusted them with a friendly 
message to the chief inhabitants of Tumbez. 

It was resolved in Tumbez to be hospitable to 
the strangers, and to send a present to them under 
the conduct of a man in authority, whom, from 
the artificial deformity of his ears (a sign of rank), 
the Spaniards called an Orejon. 

Friendly discourse passed between Pizarro and 
this Orejon. They dined together, and after- 
wards the Spanish captain gave him some pre- 
sents — an iron hatchet, some strings of pearls, and 
three chalcedones. To the principal lord of the 


town he sent two swine and some fowls. The 
Orejon asked If PIzarro would permit some of his 
men to return with him to the town. PIzarro 
consented, and a certain Alonzo de Molina, with 
a negro, accompanied the Orejon on shore. 

The principal lord of Tumbez was astonished at 
the new animals which PIzarro had sent him. 
When the cock crowed he asked what It said. 
But nothing surprised him or his people so much 
as the negro. They endeavoured to wash him. The 
bystanders little thought that these two strangers 
— the Spaniard and the negro — were the repre- 
sentatives of nations who came to dispossess them, 
and that thousands upon thousands of these black 
men would become In after days the Inhabitants 
of their dear Peru. On the other hand, the Spa- 
niard and the negro were not less astonished at 
what they beheld. They saw a fortress which 
had six or seven walls, aqueducts, stone houses, 
vessels of silver and gold. Indeed they had now 
arrived at a spot where they might form some 
estimate of Peruvian civilization. The valley 
of Tumbez contained a town, where was a palace 
of the reigning Inca, a temple dedicated to the 
sun, where were the sacred virgins ; and beautiful 


gardens, in which all kinds of plants and animals 
were kept. Some of these animals gave occasion 
to what was looked upon as a miracle of no small 
importance. Pizarro, wishing to test the accuracy 
of Molina's account of w^hat he had seen, sent 
Pedro de Candia, a large man of noble presence, 
to see the town. Clad in a coat of mail, with a 
brazen shield on his left arm, his sword in his 
belt, and in his right hand a wooden cross, the 
bold Greek stepped forth towards the towm, as if 
he had been the lord of the whole province. The 
people flocked to see him, and wishing, very ju- 
diciously, to ascertain the temper and quality of 
their new guest, let loose two wild animals (a 
lion and tiger they are called) ; but these animals, 
perhaps too well fed to attack any man, especially 
one clad in mail, made no attempt to molest him ; 
while he, as the story goes, made no attempt to 
frighten them, but gently laid the cross upon 
their backs, " thus giving those Gentiles to under- 
stand that the virtue of that sign took away the 
ferocity even of wild beasts." What effect it had 
hitherto had upon men was not so clearly signi- 
fied. The natives now received Pedro de Candia 
as a superior being, and conducted him over the 


temple and the palace* The temple was lined with 
plates of gold, and the palace contained every 
kind of vessel for use and ornament made of the 
same precious metal. In the gardens were ani- 
mals moulded in gold. Pedro de Candia, having 
feasted his eyes with these splendours, returned 
to his companions. They now knew enough of 
the riches of Peru to satisfy the most incredulous; 
but they still persevered in going down the coast. 
They reached Collaque and went on farther to 
what they called Puerto de Santa. But, having 
reconnoitred thus far, they resolved to return to 
Panama. In all this region they were well received 
by the natives. Pizarro had the prudence to ask 
for some young Indians to be given him, who 
mio-ht be tauo-ht the Castillian lano-uao-e. Two 
youths were accordingly brought to him, who 
were baptized, one being named Martin and the 
other Felipillo (little Philip), who afterwards be- 
came a celebrated and most mischievous inter- 
preter. The gallant company then made their 
way back to Panama freighted with great news. 
Peru had been discovered. What Comogre's son 
had years before this told Vasco Nunez was proved 
to be quite true, the Spaniards might indeed here 


fulfil their desires, and here were the precious 
metals in greater abundance than was iron in 
Biscay ; but what he at the same time said was 
true also, that a thousand men would be requisite 
for undertaking the conquest of this country. The 
next thing then that Pizarro determined upon waa 
to obtain these thousand men and effect the con- 

He had at least returned a successful man. 
His patience and indomitable perseverance had so 
far brought their reward. Whoever might gain 
the advantage of the conquest of Peru, he had 
been the discoverer of it. And so he returned 
to Panama ; not satisfied, but so far successful as 
to be in a position to ask for what shall ensure 
success. This was at the end of the year 1527. 


Pizarro goes to the Spanish Court — Returns to Panama — ' 
Starts for the Conquest of Peru — Is again surrounded with 
difficulties — Pounds the town of San Miguel. 

jIZARRO, Immediately upon his arrival 
at Panama^ determined to go at once 
to the Spanish Courts in order to get 
established, if possible, in his rights as disco- 
verer of Peru, and to obtain men and means to 
effect the conquest of it. He thought that 
Comogre's son's thousand men, with the necessary 
equipment, could be more easily obtained in the 
Old World, and with the influence of the Spanish 
Court, than at Panama. ' He seems to have acted 
in this matter with much circumspection and 
secrecy. Instead of letting Almagro go alone, 
or even accompany him, he takes the matter into 
his own hands. His partner, the worthy school- 


master, saw into his designs, and is reported to 
have said to Pizarro and Almagro, ^^ Please God, 
my children, that you do not steal the blessing 
one from the other, as Jacob did from Esau ; but 
I would that you had both gone together." It 
was a very apt illustration in character at any 
rate; for Pizarro was not unlike Jacob, and 
Almagro was the open-handed, plain, unsus- 
pecting soldier of fortune. 

Pizarro arrived safely in Spain, but had not 
long disembarked before that persistent Bachiller 
of law, Enciso, put him in prison, probably for 
some claim which he had against him in reference 
to the expedition of Ojeda. Pizarro was soon 
freed from this degrading imprisonment, and 
making his way to the Spanish Court, was well 
received there. His main object was speedily 
accomplished. He was confirmed in the rights 
of his discovery, and the government of Peru 
was assigned to him, the extent being defined to 
be two hundred leagues down the coast, from, 
Tenumpuela (the island of Puna is meant, I think) 
to Chincha; the title of Adelantado was also 
given to him ; and the bishopric of Tumbez was 
assigned to Fernando de Luque. Pizarro then 



went to visit his native town Truxillo, in Estre- 
madura. It is not often that a man has come 
back to his home with more renown; and he 
seems to have had the unusual fortune of in- 
spiring his nearest relatives with some belief in 
him, or at least in his success. His brothers, 
Fernando ^who was the only legitimate one), 
Juan, Gonzalo, and Martin, resolved to sell their 
estates and to join their brother Francisco in his 
enterprise. This gathering of the family around 
him apparently strengthened him much. His 
brother Fernando was a man of great ability, 
though of a nature and temperament which 
afterwards proved very detrimental to the go- 

Notwithstanding all these present advantages, 
Pizarro found it difficult to furnish the necessary 
complement of men for his vessels ; and it was 
only by a trick that he contrived to elude the in- 
vestigation of the king's officers at Seville, who 
had orders to see that his vessels were duly 
furnished and equipped, before being allowed to 
depart. One hundred and twenty-five men were 
all that he could number when he arrived at 
Nombre de Dios, from which port he made his 


way to Panama. The meeting of the principal 
partners was not at all friendly, for Almagro 
was naturally much discontented at the neglect, 
which Pizarro had shown of his interests at 
Court. Hitherto the only fruits of Almagro's 
enterprise had been the loss of his eye, and the 
various debts which he had rendered himself 
accountable for; and now he was not to share 
any of his partner's honours. It may here be 
mentioned that Pizarro, in addition to other marks 
of favour which he had received, had been ap- 
pointed a knight of the Order of Santiago,^* The 
arrival moreover, of Pizarro's brothers was not 
a pleasing circumstance to Almagro; and then 
began those feuds between him and the Pizarros, 
which afterwards led to the most deadly conse- 

By the advice, however, of common friends, 
the two associates were brought to terms ; Pizarro 
agreeing to renounce the appointment of Ade- 
lantado in favour of Almagro, and binding him- 
self not to ask any favour from the Spanish Court 

* It is pleasing to find that the brave men who had stood 
by Pizarro in the Island of Gallo were made hidalgos. 


for himself or his brothers, until he should have 
obtained a government for his partner, to com- 
mence where the limits of his own ended. 

The preparations for departure were then 
completed, and Pizarro set sail from Panama on 
the 28th of December 1530 in three small ships, 
carrying one hundred and eighty-three men and 
thirty-seven horses. Three years had already 
elapsed since he had returned from having dis- 
covered Peru, three long years no doubt to him, 
full, too, of disappointments and hindrances. He 
was obliged to set out also with a force far below 
what he considered necessary. This time, how- 
ever, he reached the bay of San Mateo in three 
days, a distance which had before taken him two 
years and more. But now he found the people 
everywhere in arms against him. He seized 
upon the town of Coaque and captured booty 
to the amount of 15,000 pesos in gold, 1500 marks 
in silver and many emeralds. Upon this he sent 
his vessels back with the spoil to Panama, hoping 
that they would soon return with men and horses. 
But the same misfortunes came down upon him 
now as upon his previous voyage, when he was 
obliged to wait for supplies, and his vessels had 


been sent away. It was several months before 
these vessels returned, and during that time 
Pizarro and his men underwent all the miseries 
of a most malignant climate. It may be that 
there was some compensation in all this waiting ; 
for -at this very time, as the Spaniards were wasting 
away by units, their future adversaries, the Peru- 
vians, were busy in destroying their thousands by 
a civil warfare carried to the extreme of barbarous 

After seven weary months the two vessels 
which had been sent to Panama hove in sight, 
bringing twenty-six horse-soldiers and thirty foot- 
soldiers ; and for these they had been obliged to 
endure all the miseries of the last seven months. 

Pizarro then marched along the coast until he 
came opposite to the island of Puna. He and his 
men passed over in rafts to that island. There 
he was received with great apparent joy, to the 
sound of musical instruments; and the chief 
Curaca (cacique) gave him a sum of gold and 
silver. As it was the rainy season Pizarro re- 
solved to take up his quarters there. 

The inhabitants of Puna, however, not liking 
tlie continued proximity of such neighbours, 


planned an attack upon them. It was disco- 
vered by means of the interpreters, and the 
Curaca and his sons were immediately seized 
by Pizarro. This did not, however, prevent the 
attack ; but the Indians were, after a contest of 
some hours, routed with great loss of life. 

The Spanish commander then resolved to leave 
the island and to steer for Tumbez. By means 
of rafts which he compelled the Curaca to pro- 
vide, he attempted to get his baggage across to 
the main land, putting a man in charge of each 
of the three rafts, while he and the rest of his 
men crossed over in the vessels and got safely to 
Tumbez. But the disposition of the natives here 
also was changed. Pizarro found the whole 
population In arms ; they had intercepted his 
baggage and cut off the men in charge of it. 

One ground for the change of disposition may be 
easily assigned. They were very different things, 
showing courtesy and hospitality to a few men in 
a boat, and receiving amicably a small armament 
in three vessels. 

The Spanish commander demanded the pro- 
duction of his three men. Being set at defiance 
by the Indians, who were emboldened by having 


a river between them and the Spaniards, he 
caused a raft to be constructed, crossed over, 
routed them, and reduced the country to sub- 

Pizarro now resolved to quit Tumbez and to 
found a town lower down the coast southwards. 
He accordingly took his departure on the 18 th of 
May, 1532. After journeying for several days 
he selected a spot for his new town, which he 
called San Miguel. It was founded with all the 
usual formalities. Spanish residents were assigned 
to it, among whom the neighbouring Indians were 

Meanwhile vessels had arrived from Panama 
with supplies, but with no troops ; for Almagro, 
it was said, intended to come and colonize on his 
own account. 

Pizarro, hearing this, wrote to Almagro when 
he sent the vessels back, begging him to change 
his project, and stating how much the service of 
God and his majesty would suffer from the estab- 
lishment of another colony, as tending to frustrate 
the main design of the enterprise. 

* This repartimiento was given conditionally. 


It may here be observed how greatly the enter- 
prise of Pizarro was facilitated by the establish- 
ment of the Spaniards at Panama. There is no 
doubt that he suffered much, and was kept back 
owing to the scantiness of his supplies of pro- 
visions and men, yet what he accomplished would 
have been impossible unless there had been a 
source of recruiting at Panama. 

Pizarro, too, was fortunate in that he had not 
to contend against any tribes of Indians who 
made use of poisoned arrows. This alone was as 
good for him as if his armament had been quad- 
rupled in number. 

While Pizarro was at his new town he learned 
something of the country he was about to con- 
quer. He heard that, on the road to places called 
Chincha and Cusco, there were populous towns 
very large and rich ; and that a journey of twelve 
or fifteen days from San Miguel would bring him 
to a well-peopled valley, called Cassamarca, where 
Atahuallpa, the greatest monarch of those parts, 
was stationed. This prince had just come as a 
conqueror from a far-off land — his country, and 
having arrived at the province of Cassamarca 
(" cassa," hail, and *• marca," a province), he had 


fixed himself there, because he had found it 
pleasant and rich, and from thence he was about 
to extend his conquests. Fernando Pizarro thus 
states in a letter his brother's knowledge at this 
time of the affairs of the Peruvian kingdom : — 

^^ He heard that there was at Cassamarca, Ata- 
huallpa, son of old Cusco, and brother of him who 
was at that time lord of the country. Between 
the two brothers there had been a very bloody 
war, and this Atahuallpa had gone on conquering 
the country as far as Cassamarca." 

To use Cusco for the name of the reigning 
sovereign and that of his predecessor is much 
the same thing as if an invading army of bar- 
barians, entering England, were to speak of the 
deceased and the reigning monarch as old and 
young London. 

The ignorance, however, of the Spaniards about 
Peru was more than equalled by the ignorance of 
the Peruvians about the Spaniards, Indeed, the 
two great centres of American civilization were 
entirely dissociated. Nothing was known in 
Mexico of Peru: nothing in Peru of Mexico. 
The fall of Mexico had spread dismay far and wide 
in Central America, but not a rumour reached the 


golden chambers of the reigning Inca. Yet a 
small and narrow strip of territory was all that 
intervened to check communication between the 
two great empires. 

Had ^^ old Cusco/' or ^^ young Cusco," been 
aware of the proceedings of the Spaniards either 
in Darien or at Mexico, a very different reception 
would have awaited them in Peru ; but the con- 
quest of America was commenced at a period 
when nations had been formed in that continent, 
but when international relations had been hardly 
at all developed. 


The Royal Family of Peru — Atahuallpa — Pizarro marches 
from San Miguel to Cassamarca — Projected interview be- 
tween Pizarro and Atahuallpa — Rout of the Peruvians and 
capture of the Inca. 

^BOUT forty years previous to Pizarro's 
landing, Huayna Capac, the reigning 
Inca, went out from Cusco northwards 
to the province of Quito ; and, conquering it, an- 
nexed it to the crown of Peru. By the daughter 
of the lord of Quito he had a son called Ata- 
huallpa (" Atahuy'' virtue, in the Latin sense of 
valour, and '' allpa^'' sweet). It is probable that 
in consequence of this conquest, he caused a great 
road which was afterwards the wonder of the 
Spaniards, to be made from Cusco to Quito, or 
rather, to be prolonged to Quito, from some inter- 
mediate point between the two cities. If so, this 
renowned Inca, both by his conquest and his road- 


making, must have greatly facilitated the destruction 
of his royal race. Such are the triumphs of men ! 
This road must have been worked at when Colum- 
bus was finding his way from Spain to the West 
India Islands, so that, in more ways than one, the 
path was being smoothed for the hardy Asturian 
or Biscayan, who had seldom seen anything more 
valuable than dirty little adulterated bits of silver, 
to the golden-plated temples of the Sun. Hap- 
pily men move about, for the most part, in a sort 
of mist which allows them dimly to apprehend 
the present, but which infuses itself between their 
dull eyes and the future as completely as if it 
were the most impenetrable thing in nature. And 
so Huayna Capac, the boasted descendant of the 
Sun, heir to so much wisdom, little thought what 
mischief to his country he had unwittingly been 
the cause of, when, just before his death, he heard 
of the advent of a few strange-looking, bearded 
men, who had landed at a remote part of his do- 
minions, — for, doubtless, he did hear of that 
apparition of Pedro de Candia at the palace and 
temple of Tumbez. This intelligence, however, 
probably filled the Inca w^ith strange fears and 
misgivings ; and some expressions of his may be 


the origin of those reports mentioned in the 
Spanish historians^ that the Peruvians themselves 
had already forecast the fate of their dynasty. 
That dynasty was now a kingdom divided against 
itself. Huayna Capac was dead, and between his 
sons an internecine war was raging when Pizarro 
landed, for the second time, at Tumbez. 

Atahuallpa, as before said, was the son of 
Huayna Capac, by the daughter of the conquered 
lord of Quito ; but he was considered illegitimate 
— not in our modern and narrow sense of the 
word, — but simply that, not having a mother of the 
imperial race, he could not succeed to the throne 
of the Incas. Huayna Capac had other children 
who were legitimate, and of whom Guascar Inca 
(so called, as some say, from a golden chain* of 
immense size which was used at the dances given 
in honour of his birth) was the eldest, and there- 
fore of right succeeded to the throne of Cusco. 

Atahuallpa is said to have been a favourite of 
his father ; he succeeded in gaining the affections 
of some of the late Inca's generals ; and, after his 
father's death, whether by right, by fraud, or by 

* " Huasca" means, in Quichuan, a rope. 


force, he established himself upon the throne of 
Quito. The story then becomes very tangled, 
and is told in different ways. The main facts, 
however, are simply these: — that there were two 
brothers, both of them despots, dividing an inhe- 
ritance, and the usual result in such cases took 
place in this. Guascar Inca, no doubt, beheld 
with concern the occupation of Quito by his bro- 
ther, and regretted the division of a kingdom 
which had been ruled over by one supreme Inca. 
On the other hand, Atahuallpa doubtless con- 
sidered himself as the legitimate sovereign of 
Quito, in right of his mother's claims, and would 
naturally be unwilling to render homage to Guas- 
car Inca. War ensued between the brothers ; 
and, while Pizarro was founding the town of San 
Miguel, Atahuallpa, by means of his generals^ 
Quizquiz and Chilicuchima, had invaded Guas- 
car's territories, taken Cusco, and made Guascar 
himself a prisoner. Quizquiz had exercised the 
utmost barbarities upon the royal race of Cusco, 
whom, though very numerous, he had nearly suc- 
ceeded in exterminating ; and, with Guascar him- 
self as prisoner, the victorious general was re- 
turning from the South to rejoin his master, 


Atahuallpa, in Cassamarca, at the very time when 
the Spaniards were descending from the North, 
and making their way to meet Atahuallpa in 
that beautiful valley. The dates of this trans- 
action are a little dubious, but I assume that 
Atahuallpa's troops had already gained this vic- 
tory ; and I am strengthened in that assumption 
by the fact that Atahuallpa, when first seen by 
the Spaniards, wore the tasselled diadem which 
belonged to the Incas alone. 

But the end of the Incas had arrived. Pizarro, 
with whose name Peru is now for ever hereafter 
to be connected, left San Miguel on the 24th 
of September, 1532, and commenced his march 
on Cassamarca; conquering or pacifying the 
Indian tribes that came in his way, and ob- 
taining what information he could of the move- 
ments and designs of Atahuallpa. When the 
Spaniards had proceeded about half-way between 
San Miguel and Cassamarca, messengers from 
Atahuallpa presented themselves before Pizarro. 
Their message was friendly. They brought 
a present for the Spanish commander and some 
provisions for his men. The principal part 
of the present was a singular drinking-vessel. 


fashioned of some precious stone^ in the form of a 
double castle. They said that their master was 
awaiting Pizarro at Cassamarca, and they men- 
tioned that Atahuallpa's generals had been victor- 
ious. Pizarro replied with courtesy, and even 
made an offer of his services, to subdue Atahuallpa's 
enemies. Journeying on for two days, and resting 
each night in buildings that were fortified and sur- 
rounded with walls of dried mud, Pizarro arrived 
at a river which he forded. It was here that 
the Spaniards first learnt the way in which the 
Peruvians were numbered by tens and multiples 
of ten ; and that five tens of thousands was the 
number of which Atahuallpa's army consisted. 
Proceeding onwards, Pizarro then came to the 
territory of a Curaca, named Cinto. Thence he 
despatched the Curaca of San Miguel as his 
envoy, to ascertain what were Atahuallpa's in- 
tentions, and whether any troops occupied the 
mountains between this point and Cassamarca. 
Pizarro was now upon one of the great roads be- 
tween Cusco and Quito, and therefore each night 
he was enabled to rest in some one of the 
fortified places, at which the Incas themselves 
had been accustomed to stop. But, in the 


course of the next three days, Pizarro diverged 
from the main road, leaving it to the right, 
and prepared to ascend the mountain road, 
which led direct to Cassamarca. Atahuallpa 
seems to have been no great general, or to have 
had the fullest confidence in his own superiority 
of numbers and the pacific intentions of the 
Spanish commander, for he left unguarded this 
mountain pass, which a few men might have 
maintained against an army, the only road being 
so precipitous that, as Pizarro's secretary men- 
tions, it was like the steps of a staircase. 
Arrived at the top of this mountain Pizarro again 
encountered messengers from Atahuallpa. Pre- 
viously, however, to seeing them, the Spanish 
commander had received information from his 
own envoy that the ways were clear. This news 
was confirmed by the message from Atahuallpa, 
which was merely a request to know on what day 
Pizarro would arrive, in order that the Inca might 
make arrangements for supplying the Spaniards, 
in the course of their march, with food at the 
stations where they were to halt. 

The new envoys from Atahuallpa recounted 
the story of the war between the brothers. They 



said that Huayna Capac had left the principality 
of Quito to their master ; that Guascar Inca had 
been the first to make war upon his brother ; and 
they confirmed the important news of Guascar's 
capture. Pizarro expressed his satisfaction at 
Atahuallpa's success ; and, in a commonplace way, 
moralized upon the fate of ambitious men. " It 
happens to them," he said, " as it has happened 
to Cusco (he meant Guascar Inca) : not only do 
they not attain what they wickedly aim at, but 
they also lose their own goods and their own 
persons." The Spanish commander added this 
formidable intimation from himself. He knew, 
he said, that Atahuallpa was a puissant monarch, 
and a great warrior; but his own master, the 
King of Spain, was sovereign of the entire world, 
and had a number of servants who were greater 
princes than Atahuallpa. His King's generals, 
indeed, had conquered kings more powerful than 
either Atahuallpa or Cusco, or their former sove- 
reign and father. Pizarro then proceeded to 
account for his own presence there, saying that 
the Emperor had sent him into that country to 
bring its inhabitants to the knowledge of God ; 
and that, with the few Christians who accom- 


panied him, he had already vanquished greater 
kings than Atahuallpa. The Spanish commander 
conchided by putting before the messengers an 
alternative. "If," he said, "Atahuallpa wishes 
to be my friend, and to receive me as such, in the 
way that other princes have done, I will be his 
friend. I will aid him in his conquest, and he 
shall remain on his throne (i se quedard en su 
Estado)^ for I am going to traverse this country 
until I reach the other sea. If, on the other hand, 
he wishes for war, I will wage it against him, as 
I have against the Curaca of Santiago (this was 
the name the Spaniards gave to the island of 
Puna), the Curaca of Tumbez, and all those who 
have chosen to make war upon me; but I shall 
not make war with any one, or do harm to any 
one who does not bring it upon himself." This 
speech, which perhaps may have been a little 
dressed up for the eyes of Charles the Fifth and 
his Court, was still, I dare say, substantially, 
what Pizarro uttered; as his policy certainly was 
to create terror. The Indian messengers listened 
in silence . afterwards they desired to report these 
things to their master; and Pizarro gave them 
leave to depart. 


The next day Pizarro resumed his march, and 
in the evening the envoy whom Atahuallpa had 
first sent, — a man of importance, the same who 
had brought the present of the castellated vase, — 
presented himself in the Spanish camp. He, too, 
brought flattering assurances from Atahuallpa, 
declaring that that prince would treat Pizarro as 
a friend and brother. This Peruvian chief said 
that he would accompany Pizarro to Cassamarca. 

Pizarro resumed his march, and the day after, 
Pizarro's own Indian messenger, the Curaca of the 
province of San Miguel, returned to the camp. 
No sooner did this Indian set eyes upon Atahu- 
allpa's envoy, than he fell furiously upon him, 
and, if they had not been separated, would have 
done him serious injury. Being asked the cause 
of his rage, he said that this envoy was a great 
rascal, a spy of Atahuallpa's, who came there to 
tell lies and to pass himself off for a chief; that 
Atahuallpa had a numerous army with him, well- 
armed and well-provisioned; that he was pre- 
paring for war in the plain of Cassamarca; and 
that the town of Cassamarca was abandoned. The 
San Miguelite Indian's dignity had been deeply 
injured. They would not, he said, allow him to 


see Atahuallpa; they would not furnish him with 
provisions unless he gave something for them in 
exchange ; indeed^ he declared^ they would have 
killed him, if he had not threatened that Pizarro 
would do the like with Atahuallpa's messengers. 
One, however, of Atahuallpa's uncles he had 
seen, and to him he had given an account of the 
bravery of the Spaniards, of their armour, their 
horses, their swords, their guns, and their cannon. 
To these furious words Atahuallpa's envoy re- 
plied, that, if the town of Cassamarca was deserted, 
it was in order that the houses might be left vacant 
as quarters for the Spaniards; and that Atahu- 
allpa was in the field, because such had been his 
custom since the commencement of the war. " If," 
he said, "they prevented you from speaking to 
Atahuallpa, it is because he is keeping a fast,* 
and, while he fasts, he lives in retreat. His 
people dare not then speak to him, and nobody 

* It is a curious fact that several of the princes of Cassa- 
marca, whom the Incas dispossessed, are said to have fasted 
to such a degree, upon first coming to the throne, as to have 
seriously injured their health. The shortness of their reigns 
is thus accounted for.— See Balboa, p. 95; Ternaux- 
CoMPANs, vol. iv. 


ventured to let him know that you were there. 
If he had known of your arrival, he would have 
received you, and would have given you to eat." 
In addition to these assurances, Atahuallpa's en- 
voy was ready with a great many arguments to 
prove his master's good intentions, — so many, 
indeed, that Pizarro's secretary, himself a man 
delighting in brevity of speech, observes that if 
all the discourse between Pizarro and the envoy 
had been written down it would make a book. 
The result was, that Pizarro pretended to be satis- 
fied, and reproved his own envoy for his violence ; 
but, in reality, the Spanish commander continued 
to entertain the gravest suspicions of Atahuallpa's 
good faith. 

The following day, Pizarro recommenced his 
march, and passed the night on a savannah, where, 
according to promise, Atahuallpa's messengers 
brought provisions to the camp. On the next 
day, Pizarro having divided his army into three 
corps, proceeded towards the town of Cassamarca, 
with the intention of taking up his quarters there 
that night. As he approached the town he could 
see Atahuallpa's camp, which lay upon the skirt 
of a mountain, at the distance of one league. 


It was on a Friday, the 15th of November, 
1532, at the hour of vespers, that Pizarro entered 
Cassamarca. Close to the entrance there was a 
large square surrounded by walls and houses. I 
conjecture this to have been originally a tambo 
(i. e. a resting-place for the Inca in his journeys), 
for such must often have been the nucleus for 
a town. The first thought of Pizarro was to 
despatch a messenger to Atahuallpa, to let the 
Inca know of his arrival, and to ask him to come 
and assign quarters to the Spaniards. Pizarro's 
next thought was to examine the town, in order 
to see whether there was any stronger position 
for his troops to occupy than the great square. 
Meanwhile, he ordered that all his men should 
remain where they were, and that the horsemen 
should not dismount, until they knew whether 
Atahuallpa was coming. 

The description of Cassamarca is very inter- 
esting, and the more so, from its not having 
been a town of the first magnitude. Indeed, 
Pizarro's secretary says that it contained only 
two thousand inhabitants; but most people are 
very bad judges of what space the inhabitants of 


another country would occupy. Cassamarca was 
built at the foot of a sierra^ upon a flat space 
extending for a league. Two rivers traversed 
the adjacent valley ; and the town was approached 
by two bridges, under which these rivers ran. 
The great square, larger than any at that time 
in Spain, was connected with the streets by two 
gates. In front of this square, and incorporated 
with it, in the direction of the plain, was a 
fortress, built of stone. Stone stairs led up from 
the square to the fortress. On the other side of 
this fortress, there was a secret staircase and a 
sally-port, connecting the fortress with the open 

Above the town, on the hill-side, " where the 
houses begin," there was another fortress, con- 
structed on a rock, the greater part of it scarped. 
This hill-fortress, which was larger than the 
other, had a triple enclosure, of more extent than 
the great square; and the ascent to it was by 
a winding staircase. There was still another 
enclosed space between the hill-fortress and the 
heights of the sierra, which was surrounded by 
buildings where the women-servants attached to 
the palace had their residence. 


Outside the town, there was a building sur- 
rounded by a court open to the air, but enclosed 
by mud walls, and planted with trees. This was 
the Temple of the Sun. There were also many 
other temples within the town. The houses, w^hich 
formed, as I imagine, two sides of the great square, 
w^ere very large. The frontage of some of them 
occupied no less than two hundred yards, and they 
were surrounded by walls about eighteen feet high. 
The walls were of good and solid masonry. The 
roofs of the buildings were formed of straw and 
wood. The interior of these houses was divided 
into several blocks of building, each of these 
blocks consisting of a suite of eight apartments, 
and having a separate entrance. In the court- 
yards were reservoirs of water, brought from 
some distance in tubes. The town was com- 
manded by the fortress on the hill, and com- 
pressed, as it were, between that fortress and 
the great square, where the government buildings 
probably were. This square, again, with its 
smaller fortress, commanded the open country. 
Cassamarca was, therefore, a very strong and 
well-arranged place for the warfare of that day. 
It was a remark made by the first conquerors 


of Peru, that the inhabitants of the higher country- 
were always much more civilized than the natives 
of the plains, so that Cassamarca was probably a 
favourable specimen of a Peruvian town.* 

Pizarro, having surveyed the town, and being 
convinced that there was no better position for 
his troops than the great square, returned to them 
there. Then, seeing that it was growing late, he 
despatched Fernando de Soto with twenty horse- 
men to Atahuallpa's camp, to urge that prince to 
hasten his visit. Fernando de Soto was to avoid 
any conflict with the Indians, but was to make an 
effort to penetrate to the Inca's presence, and to 

* It is much to be regretted that the conquerors were 
not good draughtsmen : how many words it takes to give a 
most inadequate description of what a few strokes of the 
pencil might easily and accurately have conveyed. 

It is curious to notice how soon familiarity with a new 
country takes away the power of describing it. We may 
look in vain for a better account of any Peruvian town 
than this given by Xerez ; and the first description of 
Mexican houses given by the conquerors, in the letter of 
the town- council of Vera Cruz to the Emperor Charles the 
Fifth has a freshness and distinctness in it scarcely to 
be found in any subsequent notices of the buildings in 
Kew Spain. 


return with some answer. Meanwhile, Pizarro 
mounted the fortress, to reconnoitre what could 
be seen of the Indian encampment. While there, 
his brother Fernando, having just heard of the 
embassage to the camp, came to Pizarro and sug- 
gested to him, that, as they had only seventy 
horsemen, it was hardly prudent to send so many 
as he had done with Fernando de Soto. This 
was true ; for twenty were not enough to defend 
themselves, and yet too many for the Spanish com- 
mander to run any risk of losing. Pizarro listened 
to his brother's advice, and ordered him to go with 
another twenty upon the same errand, in order to 
support the others. 

When Fernando Pizarro reached the Indian 
camp, he found that De Soto had already obtained 
an audience. Atahuallpa was at the entrance of 
his tent, sitting on a small seat, surrounded by a 
number of his chiefs and women, who stood in his 
presence. He had on his head the remarkable 
head-dress* appropriated to the Incas — ^^a tassel 

* Many authors have endeavoured to describe the 
remarkable head-dress of the Incas, but, of all the de- 
scriptions that have been given, that of Oviedo's seems 
to be the most precise. He says that, in place of a 


of wool, which looked like silk, of a deep crimson 
colour, two hands in breadth, set on the head with 

crown, the Inca wore a red tassel, of a colour as brilliant as 
the most beautiful crimson, made of wool as fine as the 
choicest silk. " This tassel (JorZa)," he adds, " is as broad 
as a hand, or more, and a span long, and at the top it is 
gathered up in the shape of the flat brush which is used for 
scrubbing cloth ; and below is a broad fringe, which hangs 
from the head to the eyes, upon the forehead, and this drags 
it (the horld) down, and keeps it in its place, and so it (the 
fringe) covers the eye -brows and part of the upper eye- 
lids, in such a way, that in order that the inca may be able 
to see at his pleasure, he has to raise the fringe (lit. the 
beard), or to put aside the tassel." — " Y esta horla es tan 
ancha 6 mas que una mano^ e luenga como un xeme^ e arriha 
resumida como talle de escohilla de limpiar ropa^ e lo de abaxo 
ancho aquelflueco que pende de la cabega hasta los ojos engima 
de la frente^ e la trae contmuamente puesta, e assi cuhre las 
cejas e parte de los pdrpados altos; de forma que para poder 
ver el Ynga a su plager^ ha de algar la barba 6 apartar la 

Las Casas makes the boi^la descend lower still : — " Le 
colgava sobre la frente hasta casi la nariz, la qual hechava 
el k un lado quando queria ver." — Las Casas, Hist. Apolo- 
getica, MS., cap. 253. 

It is worthy of notice, that there is some resemblance 
between the borla of the Incas and the common head-dress 
of the valiant Araucans, a circumstance which may indicate 
the origin of the Peruvian Incas. 

" Los Araucanos no usan turbantes ni sombreros, pero 


descending fringes which brought it down to the 
eyes."* This head-dress, as Xerez remarks, made 
the Inca look more grave than he really was. He 
kept his eyes fixed on the ground, without moving 
them. Fernando de Soto, by means of an in- 
terpreter, conveyed Pizarro's message. The Inca 
made no reply. He did not even lift up his head 
to look at the Spaniard : but one of the principal 
men of the Court spoke for him. Fortunately 
for the sake of history, Fernando Pizarro arrived 
at this moment ; and Atahuallpa, being informed 
that this was the Spanish commander's brother, 
and receiving the same message from him, deigned 
to lift up his eyes and to make some reply him- 
self. He said that May9abilica, a curaca of his. 

llevan en la cabeza una faxa de lana bordada, a manera del 
diadema que usaban los antiguos Soberanos. Esta se la 
levantan 6 alzan un poco, en senal de cortesia, al tiempo de 
saludar, y quando van a la guerra la adorn an de varias 
vistosas plumas." — Molina, Compendio de la Historia Civil 
del Bey no de Chile ^ lib. ii. cap. 1. 

* " Tenia en la frente una Borla de Lana, que parecia 
Seda, de color de Carmesi, de anchor de dos manos, asida 
de la cabega con sus Cordones, que le bajaban hasta los 
ojos."— F. DE Xerez. Barcia, Historiadores, torn. iii. 
p. 196. 


on the banks of the river Turlcara (this was near 
the town of San Miguel), had Informed him how 
the Spaniards had maltreated his curacas, and had 
put them in chains. May9abilica, he added, had 
sent him an iron collar. The same chieftain had, 
moreover, told him that the Spaniards were no 
great warriors, and that he had killed three of 
them and a horse. Notwithstanding, however, the 
injuries complained of, he, Atahuallpa, would go 
with pleasure to-morrow morning to see the 
Spanish commander, and would be a friend to the 

Fernando Pizarro replied with all the haughti- 
ness that was to be expected from a Spaniard on 
being told that his countrymen were not warriors. 
" I told him," he says, " that the people of San 
Miguel were as women (hens, there Is a report, 
was the word that Fernando used),* that one 
horse was sufficient to subdue the whole country, 
and that when he should see us fight, he would 
learn what sort of people we were, — that the 
governor had much regard for him, and that, if 

* " Siendo todos ellos unas gallinas." — F. de Xerez. 
Barcia, Historiadores, torn. iii. p. 196. 


he had any enemy whom he would point out to 
the governor, he would send to conquer that ene- 
my." To this the Inca replied, that our days' 
journey from this place there were some very 
stubborn Indians whom he could make no way 
with, and that the Christians might go there to 
help his people. '^ I told him," such are the words 
of Fernando, " that the governor would send ten 
horsemen, who would suffice for the whole coun- 
try, — that his Indians were only necessary to 
hunt out the fugitives. Upon this, Atahuallpa 
smiled, as a man who did not so much esteem us." 

As the sun had now gone down, Fernando 
Pizarro expressed some impatience for an answer 
to be given to the governor's message. The 
monarch replied, as before, that Fernando should 
inform his brother that Atahuallpa would come 
next day, in the morning, to see him, and that 
Pizarro should lodge his men in three large halls 
{tres salones grandes)^ which there were in the 
great square of Cassamarca, the middle one being 
reserved for the general himself. 

Meanwhile, as it had begun to rain and hail, 
Pizarro had already appointed quarters for his 
men in the apartments of the palace, but had 


placed the captain of artillery and his two guns 
in the fortress. Previously to this, a messenger 
had come from Atahuallpa, bearing an answer in 
reply to Pizarro's first message, to the effect that 
the Spanish commander might have his quarters 
where he pleased, except in the fortress. 

Fernando Pizarro returned to his brother that 
evening, and gave an account of his embassy. All 
that night the Spaniards kept good watch, and 
early on the next morning (Saturday) messengers 
came from the Inca, to say that he would come 
in the evening. Among these messengers was 
that envoy of Atahuallpa's who had before had so 
much conversation with Pizarro ; and he told him 
that his lord said, that, since the Spaniards had 
come armed to his camp, he should choose to 
come with arms too. Pizarro replied that Ata- 
huallpa might come as he pleased. 

On the return of these messengers, about mid- 
day, Atahuallpa broke up his camp, and moved 
to within half a quarter of a league of Cassamarca. 
He then sent another message to Pizarro, saying 
that he would come without arms, but with a 
number of people Avho would form his suite, as he 
was going to take up his quarters in the town; 


and he indicated where those quarters would be, 
namely, " in the House of the Serpent," so called 
because in the interior of the house there was an 
image of a serpent in stone. Either on this 
occasion, or on that of the former embassage, 
Atahuallpa had made a request that one of the 
Spaniards should be sent to accompany him. 
According to Xerez this was refused ; according 
to Fernando Pizarro, it was acceded to. 

Pizarro now made his final preparations to re- 
ceive Atahuallpa. He kept the cavalry in the 
quarters that had been appointed for them, — the 
horses being saddled and bridled, and the soldiers 
ready to mount at a moment's notice. The in- 
fantry he posted in those streets which, as before 
described, led into the great square. The artillery 
was in the fortress ; and Pizarro ordered the cap- 
tain of the artillery to bring his pieces to bear 
upon the Peruvian army, now in their tents under 
the town. Pizarro himself remained in his own 
lodgings. He kept twenty men with him, who 
were to help him to seize upon Atahuallpa, ^^ if 
the Inca came with treacherous intent, as it ap- 
peared he was coming with such a large body of 
men." Fernando Pizarro makes a similar remark 



with regard to the cavalry, for he says, " they 
were to be ready until it was seen what were 
Atahuallpa's intentions." 

Evening, always the best friend of the Indians 
in their encounters with the Spaniards, was now 
coming on. In the great square of Cassamarca a 
single sentinel paced up and down; and, as he 
could see what was going on in the enemy's camp, 
gave notice from time to time of their movements. 
Pizarro visited his posts, and addressed encourag- 
ing words to his men. They would rather have 
fought in the open fields, if fighting there was to 
be; and it was well to prevent this feeling from 
growing into anything like discouragement. Pi- 
zarro told his soldiers to make fortresses of their 
hearts, since there were no others for them, nor 
other succour but that of God, who protects in 
the greatest dangers those who are engaged in His 
service. '^ Although there may be five hundred 
Indians to one Christian," said Pizarro, " show 
that courage which brave men are wont to dis- 
play on such occasions, and expect that God will 
fight for you. At the moment of attack, throw 
yourselves upon the enemy with force and swift- 
ness ; and let the cavalry charge in such a manner 


that the horses do not jostle against each 

That the evening was coming on was a circum- 
stance which Pizarro did not at all like. Ac- 
cordingly he sent a messenger to hasten the Inca's 
arrival, on the pretext that he was waiting for 
him to sit down to supper, and that he could not 
do so until the Inca should arrive. Atahuallpa, 
on receiving this message, prepared to enter the 
town. He came accompanied by five or six 
thousand men — " unarmed men," Fernando Pi- 
zarro says, — that is, without their lances ; but 
beneath their cotton doublets they carried small 
clubs, slings, and bags of stones. 

While the Peruvians were moving into the 
town — and the movement of an Inca was a slow 
and pompous affair, — what were the thoughts of 
the leaders on both sides, and what had been their 
intentions throughout? Probably we shall not 
err much in concluding that neither Pizarro nor 
Atahuallpa had made up their minds definitively 
as to what course they should take; and that a 
very slight circumstance might have changed the 
proceedings of this memorable evening. How 
often must the audacious capture of Montezuma 


by Cortes have been talked over at their watch- 
jBres by Spanish captains and Spanish soldiers! 
It is^ therefore, not surprising that Pizarro should 
have made preparations for enacting a similar feat, 
if it should seem necessary. He had told his 
band of foot-soldiers that they were to endeavour 
to seize the Inca alive ; but at the same time he 
had ordered that his men should not quit their 
posts, even if they should see the enemy enter 
into the great square, until they had heard the 
discharge of artillery. Fernando Pizarro men- 
tions that some of the messengers who had come 
in the course of the day had told the Indian 
women attached to the Spaniards that they had 
better fly, as the Inca was coming in the evening 
to destroy the Christians. This story may be 
doubted ; but the numbers that accompanied Ata- 
huallpa, and the general movement of the camp 
to a spot much nearer the town, were evident 
facts of a threatening character. Still, I imagine 
that Pizarro was really anxious to penetrate the 
Inca's intentions, and, if he had been quite sure of 
their being pacific, would have been contented to 
wait the course of events. 

As for Atahuallpa's designs, they were, I con- 


ceive, still less definitively formed. He may well 
have imagined that this small band of men might 
aid him greatly in completing and securing his 
conquests, while their numbers would be too few 
to be dangerous to his dominion. Still, he may 
have had a very wise apprehension of what even 
a few men, aided by these strange animals (horses 
and dogs), and with these wonderful weapons, of 
which he had heard something, might be able to 
effect. Pizarro's secretary thinks that the clubs 
and the slings were proofs of hostile intention. 
The braver Fernando Pizarro considered that 
they were no arms. The Inca himself probably 
thought that in the arming of his retinue he had 
chosen the happy medium: his attendants were 
not defenceless, but they did not come as the men 
of war whom he had left in the plain below. As 
for the number that accompanied him, he was, 
doubtless, accustomed to be surrounded by large 
numbers, and might have thought that his nu- 
merous and grand retinue would impress upon 
the minds of these strangers a just sense of the 
power and dignity of the Monarch of Peru. 

Whatever were the thoughts or the intentions 
of either party, the time had now arrived for ex- 


pressing them in action. Atahuallpa's retinue 
passed over the bridges, and began to ascend into 
the great square. The mode of their procession 
seems to show that the Indians had no expecta- 
tion of an immediate attack, or they would hardly 
have suffered their prince to come so prominently 
forward. There was, however, an advance-guard, 
not, as it would appear, in great force, and not 
better armed than with the clubs and slings be- 
fore mentioned. These entered the great square 
first. As the advance-guard began to enter, a 
troop of three hundred Indians, clothed in a sort 
of chequered livery, made clean the way before 
the litter of Atahuallpa, After them came three 
corps of dancers and singers, then a number of 
Peruvians in golden armour, wearing crowns of 
gold and silver, in the midst of whom was borne 
along the Inca himself, in a litter adorned with 
parroquets' plumes of all colours, and plated with 
silver and gold. A number of chiefs carried this 
litter on their shoulders. There were two other 
litters, and two hammocks, which no doubt con- 
tained persons of the highest rank and dignity. 
After these came several columns of men, about 
whose arms or armour nothing is said ; but it is 


mentioned that they also wore crowns of gold and 
silver. As each body of men advanced, they de- 
ployed to the right or the left ; and Atahuallpa's 
litter was borne on towards the centre of the great 
square. He then ordered a halt to be made, and 
that his litter and the others should be continued 
to be held up. 

An incident happened now which is worth 
noting, as it shows how differently the same thing 
may affect different people, according to the mode 
in which they may be disposed to look at it. 
Pizarro's secretary says, ^^ The Indians kept en- 
tering the square : an Indian chief of the advance 
guard then mounted the fortress where the artil- 
lery was, and raised a lance twice, as if to give a 
signal." Fernando Pizarro, at the same period 
of the narrative, says, " Twelve or fifteen Indians 
mounted a little fortress which is there, and took 
possession of it, as it were, with a flag attached to 
a lance." This slight action admits, as every one 
must see, of being rendered in two very different 
ways: either it was a traitorous signal to the 
army below, or a point of ceremony. I hold, 
with Fernando Pizarro, to the latter rendering. 

At this point of time, Pizarro asked Vicente de 


Valverde, the priest of the expedition, whether 
he would go and speak to Atahuallpa with an in- 
terpreter. Father Vicente consented, and ad- 
vanced towards the Inca, bearing a cross in one 
hand, and holding a breviary in the other. As 
the priest approached, Atahuallpa naturally in- 
quired of those Indians who had already seen 
something of the Spaniards, having journeyed with 
them, and provided for the necessities of the army, 
of what condition and quality this man was. One 
of them replied, that this was " the captain and 
guide of talk ; " he meant to say, preacher — " the 
minister of the supreme God, Pachacamac, and his 
messenger : " the rest, he said, ^^ are not as he is." 

Meanwhile, father Vicente had advanced close 
to the litter of Atahuallpa, and, having made his 
obeisance, addressed the Inca in a discourse, which 
was divided into two parts, and was intended to 
be a brief summary of the whole theology of that 

First came the doctrine of the Trinity, three in 
one ; then a history of Jesus Christ, how He died 
on a cross like unto that which he, the father, 
bore in his hands ; — how He rose from the dead, 
and ascended into heaven, leaving His apostles and 


their successors to bring men to a knowledge of 
Him and His law; then he declared how the 
Roman Pontiffs were the successors of St. Peter^ 
and have the same supreme spiritual authority. 

He then proceeded to the temporal part of his 
oration ; and explained how the Pope, In order to 
bring these nations back to the true knowledge of 
God, had granted the conquest of these parts to 
Charles the Fifth of Spain, who had sent his 
captains; and they had brought to the true reli- 
gion the great Islands and the country of Mexico : 
an alliance of perpetual friendship was therefore to 
be made between His Majesty and His Highness 
of Peru. He then explained what this alliance 
meant. It was that Atahuallpa should pay tri- 
bute, renounce the administration of his kingdom, 
obey the Pope, believe In Jesus Christ, and give 
up Idolatry. ^^ If, with an obstinate mind, you 
endeavour to resist," said father Vicente In con- 
clusion, '^ you may take It for very certain that 
God win permit that, as, anciently, Pharaoh and 
all his army perished In the Red Sea, so you and 
all your Indians will be destroyed by our arms." 

This last sentence Is a triumph of pedantry; 
the fulfilment of the prophecy, however, was near 


at hand ; and father Vicente can hardly be ac- 
quitted of having had some share in accelerating 
it. There is one feature of this remarkable scene 
that deserves mention, and it is that the inter- 
preter was Felipillo, a native of the island of 
Puna, or of the adjacent country. It need not be 
asked what his Spanish was ; indeed, his Cuscan, 
if he attempted it, must have been almost equally 

Atahuallpa had no sooner heard the priest's 
discourse than, according to Garcilaso de la Vega, 
he gave a groan, and uttered the word ^^ Atac," 
(alas !) ; but, stifling his passion, he commenced an 
oration in reply to that of Vicente. He drew a 
contrast between the messages of peace and bro- 
therhood which had previously been sent him, 
and the present menaces of fire and sword. He 
could not understand the mutual relation of the 
Pope and Charles the Fifth, — how Charles needed 
the authority of the Pope ; and then he went into 
the question of tribute ; if he had to pay tribute 
to any one, it was to one of those illustrious per- 
sonages who had preceded the mention of Charles 
the Fifth, the Pope, or one of those composing the 
Trinity ; " but if," he said, " I owe nothing to 


these others^ I owe less to Charles, who never 
was lord of these countries nor has seen them." 
He Is made to conclude by saying that the 
Spaniards had more gods than the Peruvians, 
who only adored Pachacamac, as supreme Godj 
and the Sun as his subordinate, and the Moon as 
the sister of the Sun. 

There is one thing, however, which the Inca 
undoubtedly did. He asked for the book which 
father Vicente carried in his hand, and to which 
he had referred as bearing testimony to his won- 
derful assertions. The book was clasped. Ata- 
huallpa took it in his hands, but could not open 
it. Father Vicente advanced to do so for him; 
but the Inca, doubtless considering this a sign of 
disrespect, struck him on the arm, and then, 
forcing the book open, turned over some of the 
leaves; after which he threw it five or six feet 
from him. 

He then said he well knew what the Spaniards 
had done on their route, how they had maltreated 
his curacas and pillaged houses. Father Vicente 
offered excuses, saying that the Christians had 
not done these things, but that some Indians, 
without Pizarro's knowledge, were the persons in 


fault ; and that the Spanish Commander had or- 
dered restitution. To this the Inca replied, " I 
will not go hence, until you have given me all 
that you have taken from my land." He rose 
up in his litter, and spoke to his people, and 
there was a murmur amongst them, as if they 
were calling for their armed companions. 

Father Vicente returned to the Governor and 
told him what had passed, that the Inca had 
thrown the book upon the ground, and that the 
posture of affairs admitted of no more delay,* by 
which, I suppose, he meant that negotiation was 
at an end, and that arms must now decide the 
question. Then Pizarro put on his cuirass, took 
his sword and his buckler, and sent to inform his 
brother. It had been concerted between them, 
that Fernando was to give the signal to the cap- 
tain of artillery, and he did so now. Tlie cannon 
were discharged, the trumpets sounded, the cavalry 
rushed out of their quarters, and Pizarro himself, 
followed but by four men, who alone of all the 

* This is upon Fernando Pizarro's testimony, and the 
words which he attributed to the priest are, *' Que ya no 
estaba la cosa en tiempo de esperar mas ! " — See Fer- 
nando's Letter to the Audiencia, in Quiktana. 


twenty could hold their way with him, rushed 
straight to the litter of the Inca, whom he seized 
by the left hand, uttering at the same time the 
war-cry of Santiago, a name well known now in 
many a bloody battle-field in the New World. 
The Inca's litter being still held up aloft, Pizarro 
could not get at him to drag him out of it, until 
the Spaniards had killed a sufficient number of the 
bearers, when it fell, and Pizarro, in the melee 
round the fallen Prince, was slightly wounded in 
the hand. At last the person of the Inca was 
secured, but in a woful plight, such as, perhaps, 
no rebel's dream had ever dared to depict for the 
person of his god-descended sovereign. The 
guards and the curacas did not desert their 
master, but were slaughtered in heaps around 
him. The rest of the Peruvians fled like sheep, 
and by their weight breaking down the wall of 
the enclosure (which that day, as the saying went 
hereafter, was kinder to them than the Spaniards), 
fled into the open country towards their camp. 
The Indians there, however, made no better 
stand than their flying comrades, and unresisted 
slaughter was the order of the day. 

Pizarro's little wound was the only injury 


received by any Spaniard, but two thousand 
dead bodies of Indians remained in the square 
that night. 

The Inca, whose clothes in the struggle had 
been pulled to pieces, was reclothed, and ^^ con- 
soled" by Pizarro (a strange comforter!), who 
told him not to be ashamed of being conquered 
by one who had done great things, and to con- 
gratulate himself on having fallen into such 
merciful hands. " If we have seized upon you 
and killed your people," said Pizarro, ^^ it is 
because you came with a numerous army; it is 
because you have thrown on the ground the book 
which contains the word of God ; so the Lord has 
permitted that your pride should be humbled, 
and that no Indian should have been able to 
wound a Christian." 

Atahuallpa is said to have made a reply, in 
which, after the fashion of despots, he laid the 
blame upon his inferior officers, saying that 
May^abilica had misrepresented the Spaniards' 
prowess, and that he, the Inca, wished to come 
peaceably, but that his chiefs would not allow 
him to do so. 

It is not likely, however, that much discourse 


passed between Pizarro and his captive that 
evening. As it was now late, Pizarro ordered 
the recall to be sounded ; and soon afterwards 
the Spaniards returned, having with them no less 
than three thousand prisoners. Pizarro asked if 
any Spaniards were wounded, and was informed 
that one horse only had received a slight injury. 
Upon this, he gave thanks to God, and after 
saying that the great action of this day, which he 
counted as a miracle, was to be attributed to His 
grace and favour, he ordered the troops to rest in 
their quarters, bidding them, however, keep a 
good watch, ^^ for," said he, " although God has 
given us the victory, we must not cease to be 
upon our guard." 

They then went to supper. Pizarro and Ata- 
huallpa sat at the same table. Afterwards the 
Inca retired to his couch, placed in the chamber 
of his conqueror, where he remained unbound, 
being watched over only by the usual guard 
that attended the Governor. What a contrast 
to the obsequious multitude that had been wont 
to throng the precincts of the Inca's dwelling ! 
and with what feelings must the conquered 
monarch have looked round him at the break of 


dawn, in the first few moments after waking 
— that point of time when all great calamities 
are most keenly apprehended, — and when, if he 
had slept at all, he discerned that his defeat was 
not a hideous dream, but that he lay there a 
captive to these few bearded men who surrounded 
him, and that the vast apparatus of attendance 
that he was accustomed to was wanting ! Pizarro, 
however, had not been unmindful of aught that 
might soothe his captive's sufferings ; and, on the 
preceding evening, had offered to Atahuallpa the 
services of those female attendants of his who had 
already been captured : it may be hoped the 
monarch found amongst them those, or at least 
the one much-loved, who could console (rare art 
in man or woman !) without reproaching. 

The position of Atahuallpa was almost unique. 
It is not merely that he was at the same time a 
conqueror and a captive. That conjuncture of 
circumstances had happened several times before 
in the world's history; but then the conqueror 
had usually been made captive by some detach- 
ment, or at least by some ally, of the other side ; 
whereas, Atahuallpa, victorious on his own 
ground, suddenly found himself a slave to some 


power, which, so far as its connexion with Peru- 
vian affairs was concerned, might have descended 
from the clouds. His previous success must have 
deepened the dismay he felt at his present re- 
verse, and have added greatly to the height of 
hope from which he had suddenly and precipi- 
tately fallen. 

Whatever may have been the poignancy of 
the Inca's feelings, his dignity forbade any expres- 
sion of it. He spoke with resignation, and even 
with cheerfulness, of his defeat. He said it was 
the way of war, to conquer and to be conquered ; 
and, with a wise stoicism, he sought to comfort 
those chiefs and favourites who were admitted to 
see him, and whose lamentations, not restrained 
by regal dignity, were loud and fervid. 

The historian may well imitate the reserve 
of the principal sufferer, and forbear to moralize 
more than he did upon an unparalleled instance 
of the mutability of fortune, which was no less 
rapid than complete — as rapid, indeed, as the 
skilful shifting of a scene. The battle, if battle 
it can be called, in which perhaps hardly any 
weapons were crossed, except by accident, lasted 
little more than half an hour, for the sun had 



already set when the action commenced. It was 
rightly said that the shades of night would prove 
the best defence for the Indians. The Spaniards 
remarked that the horses, which the evening 
before had scarcely been able to move on account 
of the cold which they had suffered in their 
journey over the mountains, galloped about on 
this day as if they had nothing the matter with 
them. All that the fiercest beasts of the forest 
have done is absolutely inappreciable, when com- 
pared with the evil of which that good-natured 
animal, the horse, has been the eflScient instru- 
ment, since he was first tamed to the use of man. 
Atahuallpa afterwards mentioned that he had 
been told how the horses were unsaddled at night, 
which was another reason for his entertaining 
less fear of the Spaniards, and listening more to 
the mistaken notions of May9abilica. 

Saddled or not saddled, however, in the wars 
between the Spaniards and the Indians, the horse 
did not play a subordinate part ; the horse n ade 
the essential difference between the armies; and 
if, in the great square of Madrid, there had been 
raised some huge emblem in stone to commemo- 
rate the Spanish Conquest of the New World, an 


equine, not an equestrian, figure would appro- 
priately have crowned the work. The arms and 
the armour might have remained the same on both 
sides. The ineffectual clubs and darts and lances 
might still have been arrayed against the sharp 
Biscayan sword and deadly arquebuss ; the cotton 
doublet of Cusco against the steel corslet of 
Milan ; but, without the horse, the victory would 
ultimately have been on the side of overpowering 
numbers. The Spaniards might have hewn into 
the Peruvian squadrons, making clear lanes of 
prostrate bodies. Those squadrons would have 
closed together again, and by mere weight would 
have compressed to death the little band of heroic 
Spaniards. In truth, had the horse been created 
in America, the conquest of the New World 
would not improbably have been reserved for that 
peculiar epoch of development in the European 
mind, when, as at present, mechanical power has 
in some degree superseded the horse; and it is 
a real superseding, for the new power is natu- 
rally measured by the units contained in it of the 
animal force which it represents and displaces. 


Agreement for AtahuallpcLS JRansom — Fernando Pizarro's 
Journey to the Temple of Pachacamdc — Messengers sent to 
Cusco — Arrival of Almagro at the Camp of Cassamarca, 

ARLY the next morning after the cap- 
ture of Atahuallpa, the Governor (from 
henceforth we may well call Pizarro the 
Governor, and on his furrowed forehead might 
have been placed the potent diadem of the Incas) 
sent out thirty horsemen to scour the plain, and to 
ransack the Inca's camp. At mid-day they re- 
turned, bringing with them ornaments and utensils 
of gold and silver, emeralds, men, women, and 
provisions. The gold in that excursion produced, 
when melted, about eighty thousand pesos. 

There was one thing which the Spaniards 
noticed in this foray, and reported to Pizarro. 
They found several Indians lying dead in the 


camp, who had not been killed by Spaniards 
(they knew their own marks) ; and^ when Pizarro 
asked for an explanation of this circumstance 
from the Inca, he replied, that he had ordered 
these men to be put to death, because they had 
shrunk back from the Spanish captain's horse. 
This Spanish captain was Fernando de Soto, 
who, in his interview on the preceding day, had 
indulged in sundry curvettings, to impress upon 
the Peruvians a just appreciation of the prowess 
of the horse. Such little traits — and there are 
several of them in Atahuallpa's (Sweet Valour's) 
conduct — tend to diminish the sympathy which 
we might otherwise have had for him. In truth, 
in this melancholy story it is difficult to find 
anybody whom the reader can sympathize much 
with. Fernando Pizarro is said to have behaved 
well to the natives, and at this period of the con- 
quest he always makes a creditable appearance ; 
but, to any one who knows what direful mis- 
chiefs he will hereafter give rise to, his name 
suggests the ideas of discord and confusion. 

On the present occasion, the Governor showed 
some consideration and mercy. Many of his men 
wished him to kill the fighting men among their 


prisoners, but he would not consent to this. They 
had come, he said, to conquer these savages, and 
to instruct them in the Catholic faith; and it 
would not be fitting to imitate these cruel people 
in their cruelties. Those Peruvians, therefore, 
whom the Spaniards did not choose for slaves 
were set at liberty. 

Pizarro renewed with Atahuallpa the preaching 
of the previous evening. His discourse was pro- 
bably more intelligible than that of the priest, 
Vicente de Valverde, of whom the earliest tra- 
veller (not a Spaniard) in those parts slily observes, 
when describing the interview between the priest 
and the Inca, that Valverde must have supposed 
Atahuallpa to have suddenly come out as some great 
theologian.* Pizarro, besides explaining matters 
of faith, instructed the Inca in political aifairs, 
informing him how all the lands of Peru and the 
" rest (of the New World) belonged to the Em- 
peror, Charles the Fifth, whom Atahuallpa must 
henceforth recognize as his superior lord." The 

* " Ratus fortasse Attabalibam repente in magnum ali- 
quem theologum evasisse." — Benzoni, Hist. Nov. Orbts, 
lib. iii. cap. iii. p. 280. 


dispirited Inca replied that he was content to do 
so ; and, seeing that the Christians collected gold, 
he said that what they had hitherto got was little, 
but that for his ransom he would fill the room 
where they then were, up to a certain white line 
which he marked upon the wall^ and which was 
about half as high again as a man's height, between 
eight and nine feet. This ransom was to be paid 
in about two months. 

Pizarro did not fail to make many inquiries of 
Atahuallpa about the state of his dominions, and 
the war between his brother and himself. The 
Inca told him that his generals were occupying 
the great town of Cusco, and that Guascar Inca 
was being brought to him as a prisoner. It was 
an oversight in Pizarro, and one which Cortez, 
Vasco Nunez, or Charles the Fifth would never 
have committed, that the Spanish Governor did 
not send at once to secure the person of the de- 
posed Inca.* It must not be supposed, however, 
that the Spanish commander remained idle after 

* If, however, Xerez is accurate, Guascar must have 
been put to death very soon after Atahuallpa's capture, and 
Pizarro at once informed of the fact. 


his capture of Atahuallpa. He founded a church; 
he raised and strengthened the fortifications of 
Cassamarca : and he endeavoured to ascertain 
what were the movements and intentions of the 
Peruvians. Still, it was not to secure the person 
of Guascar Inca — and we must therefore conclude 
his fate to have been settled before then, — but to 
make sure of the promised gold (which metal 
soon was to become so plentiful that the Spaniards 
would shoe their horses with it), that the Governor 
determined to send his brother Fernando, after 
two months had passed, to collect the remainder 
of the ransom, and also to observe the Peruvian 
armies which were said to be approaching Cassa- 
marca. Before this, the Governor had sent to 
his town of San Miguel, to inform them there of 
his successes ; and on the 20th of December, he 
received a letter from that town telling him of the 
arrival, at a port called Concibi, near Coaque, 
of six vessels, containing a hundred and sixty 
Spaniards and eighty-four horses. The three 
largest of these vessels, with a hundred and 
twenty men, were armed and commanded by 
Pizarro's partner, Diego de Almagro; and the 
other three were caravels with thirty volunteers 


from Nicaragua. The Governor wrote to wel- 
come Almagro, and to beg him to come on to 

Meanwhile, continually, messengers and men of 
great authority kept arriving to see their master 
Atahuallpa. Amongst others came the chief of 
the town of Pachacamac, and the guardian of the 
great temple there. The latter was put in chains 
by Atahuallpa, who, according to the Spaniards, 
seems to have become quite a recreant from his 
own religion, for he is made to say that he did 
this because the guardian of the temple had 
advised him to make war upon the Christians, 
and had declared that the idol had said to him 
that the Inca would kill them all. ^^ I wish to 
see," the Inca is reported to say, " if he, whom 
you call your God, will take this chain off you," 
What is more certain is, that Atahuallpa, who 
was a man of much intelligence, made rapid pro- 
gress in learning how to play chess and games 
with dice, — a part of the mission of the Spaniards 
which was sure to find a ready acceptance from 
the Indians. 

It was on the day of the Epiphany, 1533, that 
Fernando Pizarro set off from Cassamarca with 


twenty horsemen and some arquebusiers. There 
is a minute account of his journey written by the 
King's Veedor, who accompanied him ; and Fer- 
nando himself has also given a short account of it. 
Everywhere they found signs of riches and of 
civilization. On his route Fernando obtained 
leave from the Governor to go to the city of Pa- 
chacamac, where was a great temple ; in reaching 
which he had to journey along the great roads. 
" The road of the Sierras/' he observes, ^^ is a 
thing to see, for, in truth, in a land so rugged, 
there have not been seen in Christendom such 
beautiful ways, the greater part being causeway." 

On Sunday, the 30th of January, after tra- 
versing for some miles a country abounding in 
groves and populous villages, Fernando Pizarro 
reached Pachacamac, where he was well received 
by the inhabitants. He there entered the temple, 
which he found to be very dark and dirty. The 
presence of a Pizarro in the inmost recesses of 
that sacred fane was of itself the sternest blow to 
all that was idolatrous in the ancient religion of 

While Fernando Pizarro was at Pachacamac, 
he heard that Atahuallpa's principal captain was 


at a town twenty leagues distant, called Xauxa. 
The name of this chief was Chilicuchima. Fer- 
nando put himself into communication with the 
Peruvian general, and, after much hesitation on 
his part, succeeded in persuading him to return- 
with him to Cassamarca, which they reached on the 
25th of March, 1533. Fernando Pizarro brought 
back with him twenty-seven loads {cargas) of gold 
and two thousand marks of silver. 

The manner of Chilicuchima's approach to the 
presence of his sovereign excited the general 
remark of the Spaniards. As the Indian chief 
entered the town, he took from one of the Indians 
of his suite a moderate-sized burden, which he 
placed upon his shoulders. The rest of the chiefs 
did the same; and, laden in this singular man- 
ner, they entered the presence of their sovereign. 
When there, Chilicuchima raised his hands to the 
sun, and returned thanks to it for having been 
permitted to see the Inca again. Approaching 
his sovereign with much tenderness and with 
tears, he kissed his face, his hands, and his feet. 
The other chiefs did the same. But Atahuallpa, 
much as he regarded his great captain — and there 
was no one, w^e are told, whom he loved more, — 


did not deign to take any more notice of him than 
of the meanest Indian in the room. Such was the 
abject adoration which was paid by the Peruvians 
to their Incas. 

Fernando Pizarro's mission was not the only 
one which the governor had sent out from Cassa- 
marca. He had also, at Atahuallpa's request, it 
is said, despatched three messengers to Cusco to 
receive the promised treasure and to bring him a 
report of the country.* These three men were, 
I believe, common soldiers, or very little above 
that rank, and their names were Pedro Moguer, 
Francisco de Zarate, and Martin Bueno. Borne 
along in hammocks on the shoulders of subser- 
vient Indians, regaled and reverenced almost as 
deities, these three uncultured men reached the 
grand city of Cusco, where they behaved with the 
greatest Insolence, avarice, and incontinence. It 
was a terrible humiliation for that ancient and 
royal city to endure; and the devout Peruvians 
might well have wondered that the sun could bear 
to look down upon the indignities committed In 
his sacred city by these rude strangers. Having 

* Xerez says that they were to take formal possession 
of Cusco, and that a public notary accompanied them. 


been first taken for gods, they soon showed them- 
selves to be a scourge from the gods. The people 
of Cusco meditated revenge ; but, their fears or 
their respect for Atahuallpa prevailing, they hast- 
ened, by satisfying the demands of these three 
Spaniards, to get rid of them. The inhabitants 
of the royal city must have remained shocked 
and troubled to their inmost souls, and the spell 
which might have attached this simple people to 
the Spaniards was broken. 

Indeed, we may well consider the sufferings 
of the inhabitants of Cusco as having something 
peculiar in them, even for the Indies. 

While such indignities were being perpetrated 
at Cusco, Almagro and his men had arrived at 
Cassamarca, and now the fruits of an ill-cemented 
partnership, like that between Pizarro and Al- 
magro, began to show themselves again. Well 
might Sixtus the Fifth say, as he did once, when 
addressing the Venetian ambassadors, ^^ He that 
has partners has masters" — alluding to his dif- 
ficulties with the conclave of cardinals ; and, if 
the learned and the discreet can hardly manage 
conjoint action, how much more difficult must it 
be with rude, unlettered soldiers, like Pizarro 


and Almagro. Fernando Pizarro, the most dis- 
tinguished member of the family, could never 
conceal his contempt and dislike for the uncouth- 
looking Almagro ; and when Almagro arrived at 
the camp, the common dislike, which had been 
soothed down at Panama, broke out again at 

Moreover, there was a serious cause, if not for 
contention, at least for jealousy on the part of 
the newly-arrived soldiers under Almagro's com- 
mand, when contemplating the good fortune of 
the men who had come with Pizarro, amongst 
whom were to be divided the heaps of gold which 
were gradually filling the room where the line 
of measurement was marked for Atahuallpa's 
ransom. Pizarro, perhaps with some view for 
the moment of getting rid of his brother, now 
resolved to melt the gold which had been accu- 
mulated, and to send Fernando with the king's 
fifth to Spain. It amounted to one million three 
hundred and twenty-six thousand five hundred 
and thirty-nine pesos^ of pure metal. A record 

* A peso was equivalent to four shillings and eightpence 


has been kept of the division of the spoil, from 
which it appears that the horse-soldier received, 
upon the average, eight thousand pesos, and the 
foot-soldier between three and four thousand. 
The name of Vicente de Valverde is not in the 
list, so that at least the vice of avarice cannot be 
imputed to him. Pizarro made over to Almagro 
a hundred thousand pesos as a compensation for 
the expenses which had been incurred in their 
partnership. To Almagro's soldiers twenty thou- 
sand pesos were awarded, which seems a very 
small sum indeed, and must have been totally 
inadequate to satisfy their cravings. The whole 
sum did not amount to that which was paid to 
any three of Pizarro's horsemen, and would by 
no means have compensated for the extravagant 
increase in prices which this influx of gold caused 
in the Spanish camp.* 

* The common price for a horse was fifteen hundred 
pesos ; a bottle of wine cost seventy pesos ; a sheet of 
paper ten pesos ; a head of garlic half a peso. — See Xerez, 
p. 233. 

The strangest result, however, of this influx of gold was 
that creditors shunned their debtors, and absolutely hid 
themselves to avoid being paid. — Oviedo, Hist Gen. y Nat. 
de las Indias, tom. iv. lib. xlvi. cap. 13. 


Guascar IncdsFate — Atahuallpd! s Trial — Atahuallpa's 

JHILE this wholesale spoliation of Peru 
was going on, it had fared ill with Guas- 
car Inca, the legitimate sovereign of 
that kingdom. There is a story, unsupported by- 
much evidence, but which appears not improbable, 
that Pizarro's messengers to Cusco met those per- 
sons who had charge of the fallen Inca, and that 
he implored the Spaniards to take him under their 
protection, and to convey him to Pizarro's camp, 
offering, as might be expected, great largesses. 
But they, not a whit more politic in this respect 
than their master, took no heed of his request, 
and passed on to Cusco. It is added that the 
fact of this interview being communicated to Ata- 
huallpa hastened Guascar Inca's death. It is also 


said that Atahuallpa, fearing what Pizarro would 
say and do^ if he gave the order for his brother's 
execution, made a trial of the Governor ; and, on 
Pizarro's coming to visit him one day, he assumed 
a very sorrowful appearance. Being pressed to 
declare the cause of his grief, he said that Guas- 
car Inca had been put to death by the captains 
who had charge of him, without his ( Atahuallpa's) 
orders. Pizarro is said to have soothed him with 
some commonplace remark about death being the 
ordinary lot of mortals, whereupon the Inca no 
longer hesitated to give orders for his brother's 

The truth is, that the Scotch form of verdict, 
" not proven," is all that can be said against Ata- 
huallpa, as regards his brother's death. 

In a document, drawn up for Charles the Fifth's 
perusal, signed by the Governor, there is no men- 
tion of the death of Guascar Inca as part of the 
charge against Atahuallpa. 

Atahuallpa seems to have been well aware that 
the newly-arrived Spaniards were anything but 
favourable to him. On taking leave of Fernando 
Pizarro, he said, '' I am sorry that you are going ; 
for when you are gone, I know that that fat man 



and that one-eyed man will contrive to kill 

The fat man was Alonzo Riquelme, the King's 
treasurer; the one-eyed man was Almagro. 

Then, too, it has been stated that the interpreter 
Felipillo, being in love with one of Atahuallpa's 
wives or concubines — an affront which, it is said, 
the Inca felt more than anything that had occurred 
to him, — was desirous of compassing Atahuallpa's 
death. It has been believed by some that Pizarro 
had from the first intended to put his prisoner to 
death ; but this is probably one of those numerous 
instances of a practice indulged in by historians of 
attributing a long-conceived and deliberate policy 
to their heroes in reference to some event, because 
the event was all along familiar to the historian's 
mind, though not at all so to the mind of the hero 
of the story. 

If I read Pizarro's character rightly, he may 
have been a suspicious man, but he was not a man 
of deep plans and projects. That he was likely to 
conceal his plans, when formed, is true ; and there 
is a pleasing little anecdote indicative of his cha- 
racter in that respect, which may be mentioned 
here. Hearing that one of his soldiers had lost 


his horse^ and was unable, from poverty, to pur- 
chase another, Pizarro concealed under his robe a 
large plate of gold, and going down to play In the 
tennis-court, where he expected to meet this sol- 
dier, but where he did not find him, the Governor 
played on for hours, with this great weight about 
him, until he espied the soldier and was able to 
draw him aside and give him the gold in secret, 
not without complaining of what he had had to 
endure in playing tennis with such a burden 
about him. In addition, moreover, to his natural 
cautiousness, it appears that Pizarro, in the course 
of his long warfare with the Indians, had become 
particularly wary in dealing with them. In short, 
he was a prudent soldier, but not a dissembling 
statesman. He may be acquitted of any deep-laid 
design against Atahuallpa's life. Far from being 
the first to plot, it is probable that his hostility 
was quickened or evoked by his fear of being out- 
witted by the address of the Inca. 

The truth is that Cassamarca, the present 
scene of action, was in a country where the na- 
tives were not friendly to Atahuallpa : many of 
them, therefore, would be glad to spread injurious 
reports of the Inca's designs. Moreover, in the 


present condition of the Peruvian royal family, 
the Indians throughout the empire must have been 
in a very disturbed and uncertain state ; and their 
movements, directed perhaps by private impulses, 
might present an appearance of warlike levies 
sanctioned by the Inca. Besides, it might na- 
turally be expected that Atahuallpa's adherents, 
with or without his orders, would assemble to- 
gether, and march towards the place of their 
master's imprisonment. Atahuallpa was there- 
fore likely to suffer in the estimation of his 
captors by what was done by his friends, by his 
enemies, and by any bands of lawless men who 
were the enemies of the state. 

The natural fears of men so isolated as were 
Pizarro and his Spaniards at Cassamarca would 
aid in bewildering their judgment as to the nature 
of any movements observed among the surround- 
ing Indians. 

Notwithstanding the immense superiority of 
the Spaniards in arms and accoutrements, it must 
not be forgotten that they were but a handful of 
men among the millions whom they had insulted, 
bereaved, and plundered; and that a dexterous 
surprise on the part of the Peruvians might easily 


restore the advantage to the side of numbers. 
There was, then, good reason for discussing what 
should be done with Atahuallpa ; and the main 
body of Almagro's men were likely to take the 
side of the question unfavourable to the captive 
Inca, from a fear that whatever gold came in 
might be set down as a part of the ransom, on 
which Pizarro's men had the first claim, and 
also from a wish for some new adventure in 
which they, too, might distinguish and enrich 
themselves. The arrival, therefore, of Almagro 
and his men at this particular juncture must 
be accounted one of those inopportune contin- 
gencies with which the history of the conquest of 
America abounds. It gave occasion for a great 
difference of feeling upon the pending question 
of Atahuallpa's death: that question, once dis- 
cussed, would be sure to become a subject for 
faction in the small community ; and the rage of 
faction, like that of infectious disease, depends 
upon the smallness and confinement of the area 
over which it acts. 

There is one circumstance which seems to have 
escaped the knowledge, or the observation, of the 
early chroniclers and historians, who all leave 


their readers in doubt whether Atahuallpa's ran- 
som was ever fully paid. But in the narrative 
made for the Emperor, which may be considered 
as having an official character, and which bears 
the signature of Pizarro, there is the following 
passage. " That fusion (of gold) having been 
made, the Governor executed an act before a 
notary, in which he liberated the Cacique Ata- 
huallpa and absolved him from the promise and 
word, which he had given to the Spaniards who 
captured him, of the room of gold which he had 
conceded to them; which act the Governor 
caused to be published openly by sound of 
trumpet in the great square of that city of Cas- 
samarca." At the same time Pizarro caused the 
Inca to be informed that, until more Spaniards 
should arrive to secure the country, it was ne- 
cessary for the service of the King of Spain that 
he should still be kept a prisoner. The reasons 
alleged for this apparent breach of faith were the 
greatness of Atahuallpa's power, and the fact, 
which Pizarro asserted he was well aware of, that 
the Inca had many times ordered his warriors to 
come and attack the Spaniards. It is difficult to 
see any motive for the singular proclamation 


mentioned above but a very prudent desire, on 
the part of Pizarro, to remove any cause of dis- 
pute between his men and those of Almagro in . 
reference to the Inca's ransom. This proclama- 
tion, therefore, was an act in favour of Ata- 
huallpa — that is, so far as the removal of the 
grounds on which a party is formed tends (which 
is but little for some time) to dissolve the party. 
That Pizarro had any personal regard for his 
captive may be doubted ; and the common story 
of Atahuallpa's discovery that the Spanish com- 
mander could not read, and of his consequent 
contempt for him, though not perhaps literally 
true, may yet indicate that the relations between 
them were not those of particular friendliness. 

Things being in this state, a circumstance oc- 
curred which Pizarro's secretary mentions, and 
which he says deserves to be mentioned. An 
Indian chief, the ^^ Cacique " of Cassamarca (Cas- 
samarca was one of the territories that had been 
conquered by Atahuallpa) came to the Governor, 
and by means of the Interpreters informed him 
that Atahuallpa had sent to his own province 
of Quito, and to all the other provinces, to as- 
semble men of war ; that the army, thus formed. 


was marching under the command of a chief 
named Llaminabe ; * that it was close at hand, 
and would arrive at night, when an attempt 
would be made to fire the town. The Cacique 
added other details. Pizarro expressed his warm- 
est thanks for this intelligence, and ordered a 
notary to make a report of the matter, and to 
found an inquiry upon it. In consequence of 
this, an uncle of Atahuallpa's and several Indian 
chiefs were arrested and examined ; and it was 
said that their evidence confirmed the evidence of 
the Cacique of Cassamarca. 

The Governor then had an interview with the 
Inca ; and, reproaching him for his treachery, 
told him what he had discovered. '^ You mock 
me," Atahuallpa replied, with a smile ; " for you 
are always saying things of this absurd kind to 
me. What are we, I and my people ? how can 
we conquer men so brave as you? Do not 
utter these jests to me." The Inca's smile and 
untroubled reply created no confidence in the 
mind of his hearer, for " since the Inca had been 

* Kuminavi (" Stony-Countenance"), one of Atahuallpa's 
greatest captains. 


a prisoner, he had often replied with such astute- 
ness and composure, that the Spaniards who had 
heard him were astonished to see so much address 
in a barbarian."* 

Pizarro sent at once for a chain, which he 
ordered to be put round the Inca's neck — a 
terrible indignity for the descendant of so many 
monarchs to endure. The Governor then took 
a wiser step in despatching two Indian spies in 
order to ascertain where this army was. They 
learnt, it is said, that it was advancing by little 
and little through a mountainous part of the 
country ; that Atahuallpa had at first ordered it 
to retreat ; but that he had since countermanded 
that order ; and had now named the very hour 
and place at which the attack was to be made, 
saying that he should be put to death if they 
delayed their arrival. The Governor, upon this 
intelligence, took all precautions against an im- 
mediate attack. The rounds were made with the 
greatest watchfulness; the soldiers slept in their 
armour ; the horses were kept ready saddled. It 
appears, also, that a party was sent out, under the 

* See Xerez, p. 234, 


command of Fernando de Soto, to reconnoitre; 
but the crisis of Atahuallpa's fate came on before 
any intelligence was received from them. 

The camp being in this excited and watchful 
state, there came to it one Saturday morning at 
sunrise two Indians, who were in the service of 
the Spaniards, and who said that they had fled 
at the approach of an army which was only three 
leagues from Cassamarca, and that the Spaniards 
would be attacked that night, or the succeeding 

Then Pizarro delayed no longer, but resolved 
to bring Atahuallpa to judgment, although, says 
the official narrative, it was very displeasing to 
the Governor to come to that pass. There hap- 
pened to be a doctor of laws in the Spanish 
camp, and so the cause was conducted with due 
formality. The various counts in the indictment 
are given by Garcilaso de la Vega. Some of them 
are very absurd, but I should be reluctant on that 
account to pronounce that they are not genuine. 
Guascar Inca's death, as might be expected, 
formed one of the subjects for accusation ; * and, 

* This statement is not inconsistent with the fact of that 


umongst other things, it was asked, whether Ata- 
huallpa was not an idolater, — whether he had not 
prosecuted unjust wars, — whether he did not pos- 
sess many concubines, — whether he had not 
made away with the tribute of the empire since 
the Spaniards had taken possession of it, — 
whether he had not made over to his relations 
and his captains many gifts from the royal estate 
since the arrival of the Spaniards ; and, lastly, 
which was the gist of the matter, whether he had 
not concerted with his captains to rebel and to 
slay the Spaniards ? If Felipillo did desire the 
Inca's death, now was the time when a word, put 
in or left out, might easily turn the scale. It 
seems that the prisoner was allowed to have an 
advocate ; but little could be done by him for his 
client, if the two Indians, as interpreted by 
Felipillo, spoke decisively to the truth of their 

The cause having been heard, and condem- 
nation being resolved upon, judgment was pro- 

part of the charge respecting Guascar Inca's death not 
being reported to the Emperor, for it may have been suc- 
cessfully rebutted. 


nouncedjit was to the following effect: — that 
Atahuallpa should be put to death, and that the 
mode of his death should be burning, unless he 
/ previously embraced the Christian faith. \ These 
liraging missionaries, the Spanish conquerors, were 
always eager to put forward that part of their 
mission, which consisted in enforcing the outward 
acceptance of Christianity — a thing which, it 
must be admitted, they really believed to be of 
the utmost import. 

When the sentence was communicated to the 
Inca, loud were his protestations against the in- 
justice, the tyranny, and the ill-faith of Pizarro ; 
but all these complaints availed him nothing ; and 
he prepared himself for death with that dignity 
which men who have long held high station and 
have been accustomed to act before a large au- 
dience are wont to show — as if they said to them- 
selves, ^^ We play a great part in human life, and 
that part shall suffer no diminution of its dignity 
in our hands." \ When brought to the place of 
execution, he said that he would be a Christian — 
the threat of burning being found, as it often has 
been, a great enlightenment upon difficult points 
of doctrine. Vicente de Valverde baptized the 


Inca under the name of Don Juan Atahuallpa, 
and the new convert was then tied to a stake, \ 
Just before his death he recommended to the 
Governor his little children, whom he desired to 
have near him; and with these last words, the 
Spaniards who were surrounding him being good 
enough to say the '' Credo " for his soul, he was 
suddenly strangled with a cross-bow string. | That 
night his body was left in the great square, and 
in the morning he was buried with all pomp and 
honour in the church which the Spaniards had 
already built, " from which mode of burial," adds 
the official document, " all the principal lords and 
caciques who served him received much satisfac- 
tion, considering the great honour which had been 
done to him, and knowing that by reason of his 
having been made a Christian he was not burnt 
alive, and that he was buried in the church as if 
he had been a Spaniard." 
I Atahuallpa, at the time of his death, was a 
man of fine presence, about thirty years of age, 
tending to corpulence, with a large, handsome, 
cruel-looking face, and with blood-shot eyes. 
His disposition was gay — not that his gaiety 
was manifested with his own people, for dignity 


forbade that, but in his conversation with the 
Spaniards. The general impression of his abi- 
lities seems to have been favourable^ and he was 
supposed to be an astute, clever man. In short, 
had the tables been reversed, and Atahuallpa 
been born in Estremadura instead of in Quito, 
he would probably have made as crafty^ bold, 
unscrupulous, and cruel a commander as any one 
of his co nquerors | i and, I doubt not, would have 
been equally devout. With his death fell the 
dynasty of the Tncas, though afterwards, as we 
shall see, there were some mock-suns of Incas 
set up by the Spaniards, to serve their own pur- 
. poses. 

It is difficult to say whether the execution of 
Atahuallpa was politic or not. But certainly the 
whole scheme of Spanish conquest, as exemplified 
in Peru, was most unwise, if the preservation of 
the natives and their conversion are to be con- 
sidered among the principal objects of the con- 
quest, as they certainly were by many good men 
even at that early period. The conquest always 
proceeded too fast; and the want of sufficient 
opposition prevented a sound growth in the new 
Spanish states. The Spaniards found themselves 


suddenly masters — in one day masters— of vast 
tracts of country and populous nations^ about 
whose laws, manners, government, religion, lan- 
guage, and resources they knew almost nothing. 
This was too difficult a problem for human nature 
to solve. Accordingly, the conquerors spread 
themselves, or, to use a bold metaphor, were 
spilt, over the country they conquered, like some 
noxious chemical fluid which destroys all life it 
touches ; and well, indeed, might they have been 
considered as the plague of an offended deity ! 
No legislation could prevent the evil consequences 
of a state of things so entirely abhorrent from 
good government as this was. 

There are, unfortunately, no more New Worlds 
to conquer ; and human wisdom, which ever lin- 
gers on the road, and lives so much in retrospect, 
that a cynic would say it might almost as well 
deal with another world as so exclusively concern 
itself with the past history of this one, was cer- 
tainly not more rapid or felicitous than usual in 
applying itself to the difficult circumstances which 
this newly-discovered continent produced in such 
abundance. It has been intimated before, and 
the history of Peru confirms the remark, that a 


weightier and more sustained endeavour on the 
part of the Spaniards to conquer and colonize, or 
mere missions to convert the natives, or simple 
traffic like the beginnings of the British East 
India Company, would probably have had a much 
less unsuccessful issue in civilizing, converting, 
and maintaining alive the inhabitants of the New 
World, But it is not for any one generation to 
comment very severely on its predecessors. The 
history of the most advanced times presents nearly 
as much that is ludicrous, disastrous, and ill-con- 
sidered, as can readily be met with at any previous 
period of the world. 

Thus, with some regrets, and much foreboding, 
we draw the curtain across the stage on which 
lies the body of the last great Inca, — to be borne 
by the Spaniards, with so much self-satisfaction 
at their own piety, not to any golden-plated 
temple of the sun, but to their hastily-raised 
wooden church in Cassamarca. Meanwhile, in 
the distance, there rises before the prophetic eye 
a great picture, in which the lofty roads of Peru, 
the sumptuous temples, palaces, and gardens are 
already falling into swift destruction, — hencefor- 
ward to possess the interest only of ruins, and to 


be numbered with Babylon, Nineveh, and the 
things that have been. 

Man is the great conservator; man the great 
destroyer: but the most fatal destruction — the 
destruction that continues to destroy — is when 
men stifle the inner life, and slay the spirit, of 
their fellow-men. The historian of the decline 
and fall of Kome has declared that it was not the 
barbarians who destroyed the buildings of " the 
eternal city," but the Roman citizens themselves, 
whose polity was broken up, who lived in a place 
too big for them, and who quarried amongst the 
grand edifices of their forefathers, to provide for 
their mean, daily purposes. So it is always ; and 
no calamity is to be deeply apprehended for a 
people, which does not strike a mortal blow at the 
national life of that people. The direst earth- 
quakes (and no quarter of the globe has suffered 
more from these appalling disasters than the New 
World,) leave but a slight scar behind. The 
most immense catastrophes of fire and flood, if the 
nation be but heartily alive, are soon smoothed 
over, and in a generation are not to be discerned, 
except by an increase of beauty in the city and 
of fertility in the fields. The most cruel wars 



often invigorate: Rome rises only greater from 
the vital conflicts she endured at the hands of the 
unrivalled Carthaginian. Nay, even conquest 
will not efface the essential being of a nation ; 
and many a people, compressed into narrower 
limits, or absolutely subjugated by a dominant 
race, have bided their time, drinking in the secret 
benefits of great reverses, — have then raised their 
crests again, and become a world-famous nation. 

But the Spanish Conquest, both of Peru and 
Mexico, was one of those fatal blows to the con- 
quered, of v^hich the shock runs through national 
and social life, smiting the spinal cord of a people, 
and leaving them in a death-like paralysis. The 
men in a nation so subdued are as helpless and 
bewildered as animals would be who had lost their 
instinct. All that the nation has accomplished 
in art, through science, or in architecture, is sub- 
missively ceded to the elements ; and no man lifts 
his hand to protect or restore any work of his 
own or of his forefathers, which he had formerly 
delighted in. It is not an earthquake which has 
shaken these miserable men, but a new formation 
of their world that has overwhelmed them. All 
the old civilization — the record often of so much 


toil and blood and sorrow — is crushed for ever 
into a confused heap of rude materials, the simplest 
meaning of which it will hereafter require great 
study to decipher ; and the nation, if it survives 
in name, is but a relic, a warning, and a sign, — 
like some burnt-out star, drifting along, hideous 
and purposeless, amidst the full and shining orbs 
which still remain to adorn and vivify the uni- 



The Feud between the Pizarros and the Almagros — Alvarado's 
Entrance into Peru — Almagro proceeds to conquer Chili — 
Fernando Pizarro takes the Command at Cusco. 

J HEN the wild beasts of a forest have 
hunted down their prey, there comes 
the difficulty of tearing it into equal or 
rather into satisfying shares, which mostly ends 
in renewed bloodshed. Nor is the same stage of 
the proceedings less perilous to associates amongst 
the higher animals ; and men, notwithstanding all 
their writings and agreements, rules, forms, and 
orders, are hardly restrained from flying at each 
others' throats, when they come to the distribution 
of profits, honours, or rewards. The feud between 


the PIzarros and the Almagros is one of the most 
memorable quarrels in the world. Pizarro and 
Almagro were two rude unlettered men, of ques- 
tionable origin ; but their disputes were of as 
much importance to mankind as almost any which 
occurred in that century, rich as it is in historical 
incident, except perhaps the long-continued quar- 
rel between the Emperor Charles the Fifth and 
Francis the First. Moreover, the European feud 
between these monarchs was important chiefly on 
account of its indirect consequences, inasmuch as 
it gave room for the Reformation to grow and 
establish itself; but this dire contest in America 
destroyed almost every person of any note who 
came within its influence, desolated the country 
where it originated, prevented the growth of 
colonization, and changed for the worse the whole 
course of legislation for the Spanish colonies. Its 
eff'ects were distinctly visible for a century after- 
wards, whereas the wars between France and 
Spain, though they seemed to be all-important at 
the time, did not leave any permanent mark upon 
either country. 

There were no signs, however, of the depth and 
fatality of this feud between the Pizarros and the 


Almagros at the period immediately succeeding 
the execution of Atahuallpa. That act of in- 
justice having been perpetrated, Pizarro gave the 
royal borla to a brother of the late Inca, and set 
out from Cassamarca on his way to Cusco. It 
was now time to extend his conquests and to 
make himself master of the chief city in Peru. 
Accordingly, in company with his comrade Al- 
magro and the new Inca, Pizarro quitted Cassa- 
marca in the summer of 1533, having remained in 
that beautiful district seven months. 

It is unnecessary to give any detailed account 
of the events of this journey. The hostile In- 
dians, wherever met, were encountered and routed 
by the Spaniards with the aid, as they imagined, 
of their tutelary saint, whose assistance, however, 
does not seem to have been much needed. The 
newly-appointed Inca died. The death of this 
prince has been attributed to the grief he felt at 
the depression of his royal race. It is said that 
after the borla had been placed upon him, he was 
no sooner out of Pizarro's presence, than, tearing 
the regal emblem from his forehead, he threw it on 
the ground, and stamped upon it, declaring that 
he would not wear a thing which he regarded as 


a mark of his slavery and of his shame. His most 
devoted followers sought to conquer this resolu- 
tion. But they did so in vain ; and, giving way 
to unutterable disgust at his subservient position, 
he expired in two months' time after he had re- 
ceived the horla from the hands of the man who 
had conquered his people and taken away his 
brother's life. Pizarro exceedingly regretted the 
death of this Inca, for it was very convenient to 
the Spanish conqueror to have at his beck a scion 
of the royal race, who must be submissive to 
him, but whose semblance of authority might pre- 
vent the Peruvians from attempting further re- 

Chilicuchima, the unfortunate general whom 
Ferdinand Pizarro had persuaded to accompany 
him to the Spanish quarters, became suspected 
of being in communication with the enemy, and 
was most unjustly condemned to be burnt by 
Pizarro. When the Spaniards approached the 
city of Cusco, they found that the Indians there 
were disposed to make a great resistance. But a 
brother of Guascar, named Manco Inca, who held 
the chief authority in the place, and was accounted 
by the Cuscans as the reigning Inca, came out to 


meet Pizarro as a friend, in consequence of which 
the Spaniards entered '^ the great and holy city " 
of Cusco after a slight resistance, on the 15th of 
November, 1533.* Notwithstanding that Cusco 
had been rifled in the first instance by Pizarro's 
messengers, there still remained in that city great 
treasures, which, when divided into four hundred 
and eighty parts, gave, as some say, four thousand 
pesos to each Spaniard in the army. Amongst 
the spoil were ten or twelve statues of female 
figures, made of fine gold, as large as life, and ^^ as 
beautiful and well wrought as if they had been 
alive." This division having been accomplished, 
Pizarro attended to the affairs of religion. He 
caused the idols to be pulled down, placed crosses 
on all the high-ways, built a church, and then, 
with all due solemnities, in the presence of a no- 
tary and of fitting witnesses, took possession of 
the town in the name of the invincible King of 
Castillo and Leon, Don Carlos the first of that 

In the meantime, the fierce and valorous cap- 

* This was exactly a year after their entry into Cassa- 
marca, which had taken place on the 15th November, 1532. 


tains of Atahuallpa did not remain indolent or 
pacific spectators of the Spanish conquest. But 
nothing would have availed, for the Spaniards 
were now ready to flock into Peru from all 

One of the most renowned companions of 
Cortes, Pedro de Alvarado, was attracted by the 
report of the riches of Peru to try his fortune 

The dismay of Pizarro may be imagined, when 
he heard that Alvarado, with no fewer than five 
hundred men at arms, had landed on the northern 
coast of Peru. He at once despatched Almagro 
in hot haste to conquer or to gain over this new and 
formidable rival. These new invaders, having 
met with great hardships, were not unwilling to 
come to terms with Almagro. Negotiations, 
therefore, were readily entered into, and a treaty 
agreed upon that Almagro should give to Alva- 
rado one hundred thousand pesos^ and in return 
Alvarado should hand over the armament to the 
two partners Pizarro and Almagro, and should 
engage for himself to quit Peru. 

And now to effect the conquest of Peru the 
combined forces amounted to something very like 


what Comogre's son years before this had de- 
clared to be necessary. 

It would seem at first sight that a great danger 
had been obviated in Alvarado's men having been 
thus brought into the service of Pizarro and Al- 
magro ; but it fell out otherwise, for the principal 
men in Alvarado's armament, having first met 
with Almagro, became attached to him, and were 
among his most zealous partisans; and partisan- 
ship brought ruin to every leader concerned in it, 
and was for years the curse of Peru. 

Pizarro, relieved from his difficulty by the de- 
parture of Alvarado, resolved to found a city near 
the sea-coast, in the valley of Lima, which after- 
wards received the name of Lima. Before this 
occurred, however, the compact between the two 
partners, Pizarro and Almagro, had been renewed 
with oaths and other solemn affirmations; and it 
was agreed that Almagro should go to reside at 
Cusco, to govern that part of the country, for 
which Pizarro gave him powers, as he did also to 
make further discoveries southwards. The Ma- 
riscal (such was the title which had recently been 
conferred on Almagro) took his leave accompanied 
by the greater part of Alvarado's men, whom he 


had attracted by his amiable nature and profuse 

While these events had been occurring in Peru, 
Fernando Pizarro had reached the court of Spain. 
It was in January, 1534, that he arrived at Se- 
ville, and as the Emperor was in Spain that year, 
Fernando Pizarro's business was readily des- 
patched. The result of his negotiation with the 
court was, that he obtained for his brother the mar- 
quisate of Atavillos, a valley not far from Xauxa ; 
the habit of Santiago for himself; the bishopric 
of Cusco for Vicente de Valverde; and a go- 
vernorship for Almagro, which was to commence 
where Pizarro's ended, and was to be called 
Nueva Toledo. It cannot be said that Fernando 
Pizarro fell into the error formerly committed 
by his brother of neglecting Almagro's interests 
at the Spanish court. On the other hand, as 
some acknowledgment of these honours and dig- 
nities, Fernando held out hopes of procuring 
from Peru a large donation to the Emperor, 
who was about to commence his expedition to 

The tenour of the despatches, which were to 
confer these appointments, must have been known 


to many persons ; and while Pizarro was at Trux- 
illo, another town which he founded on the coast, 
a youth landed there who said that Diego de Al- 
magro was appointed governor of the country 
from Chincha southwards. Upon this, a certain 
man named Aguero, anxious no doubt to secure 
the present which it was customary to give on the 
receipt of great good ncAVS, hastened after the 
Mariscal, and found him at the bridge of Aban9ay, 
where he communicated this intelligence to him. 
It served to exalt Almagro greatly in his own 
opinion. Some say that he threw up the office 
which he held under Pizarro, claiming to rule 
Cusco on his own account ; others, that Pizarro 
recalled the powers with which he had entrusted 
Almagro for the government of Cusco, appointing 
his brother Juan Pizarro to be governor. It is 
certain that dissensions between the younger 
Pizarros and Almagro arose at this time, which 
the Marquis was obliged to come to Cusco to 
pacify. Pizarro, on meeting his old friend, after 
they had embraced with many tears, spoke thus : 
^^ You have made me come by these roads without 
bringing a bed or a tent, or other food than maize. 
Where was your judgment, that, sharing with me 


equally in what there is. you have entered into 
quarrels with my brothers ? " Almagro answered 
that there w^as no occasion for Pizarro to have 
come with all this haste, since he had sent him 
word of all that had passed ; and, proceeding to 
justify himself, he added that Pizarro's brothers 
had not been able to conceal their jealousy, because 
the King had honoured him. 

The licentiate Caldera, a grave and wise man, 
now intervened, as he had done before between 
the Mariscal and Pedro de Alvarado ; and the 
result was that the Marquis and the Mariscal 
renewed their amity in the most solemn manner, 
standing before the altar, and each invoking upon 
himself perdition of soul, body, fame, honour, and 
estate, if he should break this solemn compact. 
The oath was taken in the Governor's house on 
the 12th of June, 1535, in the presence of many 
persons, the priest saying mass, and the two 
governors having put their right hands above the 
consecrated hands of the priest which held ^^ the 
most holy sacrament." This was called " dividing 
the Host;" and was considered a most solemn 
form of declaring friendship. 

The Mariscal now resolved to enter his own 


territory, where he could be free from the 
Pizarros ; and accordingly he prepared to march 
into Chili, which certainly fell within the con- 
fines of his government. In making preparations 
for his departure he lavished his resources, giving 
those who would follow him money to buy arms 
and horses, upon the simple understanding that 
they would repay him from their gains in the 
country where they were going. As he was now 
greatly popular, his service was readily embraced, 
and some even of those who had repartimientos at 
Cusco resolved to throw them up and follow the 
Mariscal. The Inca placed at his disposal the 
services of his brother PauUo and of the high- 
priest Villaoma, who were ordered to accompany 
Almagro into Chili. These he sent on before ; 
he himself was to go next; and his lieutenant- 
general Rodrigo Orgonez was to follow with the 
rest of the people. It may show how much 
Almagro's service was sought after, that so dis- 
tinguished a person in Pizarro's camp as Fernando 
de Soto was greatly disappointed at not having 
been named lieutenant-general of the Mariscal's 

Almagro, the day before his departure, is said 


to have begged Pizarro to send his brothers back 
to Castille, saying that for that end he would be 
willing that Pizarro should give them from the 
joint estate whatever amount of treasure he 
pleased ; that such a course would give general 
content in the land, for ^^ there was no one whom 
those gutlemen would not insult, relying upon 
their relationship to him." To this request 
Pizarro replied, that his brothers respected and 
loved him as a father, and that they would give 
no occasion of scandal.* 

* Oviedo describes Fernando Pizarro in the following 
words : " And of all those (the brothers Pizarro) Fernando 
Pizarro was the only one of a legitimate bed, and the most 
imbedded in pride. He was a stout man of lofty stature, 
with a large tongue and heavy lips, and the end of the nose 
very fleshy and red ; and this man was the disturber of the 
quiet of all, and especially of the two ancient associates 
Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro." 


Fernando Pizarro returns from Spain — Takes the Command 
at Cusco — Flight and Rebellion of the Inca Manco — 
Description of Cusco, 

S the brotherhood of the Pizarros 5s 
about to play a very important part in 
the history, it is desirable to consider 
what the advantages and disadvantages would 
have been of such a course as Almagro counselled. 
It is true that the promotion of near relatives is, 
and always has been, a very offensive thing to 
those who are hoping for advancement from any 
man in power, or even to those who are merely 
looking on at his proceedings. But, on the other 
hand, near relatives, though often more difficult 
to act with than other men, are nearly sure to be 
faithful. The certainty of this faithfulness has, 



doubtless, weighed much with men like Pizarro, 
newly and suddenly possessed of power; and it 
was a difficult question for him to decide, whether 
in his case it was not wise to endure the odium 
for the sake of the fidelity. Moreover, Pizarro's 
brothers were all of them good soldiers and brave 
men. Fernando was a most skilful captain ; Gon- 
zalo was said to be "the best lance" that had 
come to the Indies; Juan showed his valour at 
the siege of Cusco ; and Martin afterwards died 
fighting by his brother's side. 

The Marquis, unwilling to deprive himself of 
the services of such brothers, would not listen to 
the counsels of the Mariscal in this matter ; which 
counsels, however, have been held by commenta- 
tors to be very sagacious. 

The Governor of Nueva Toledo (Almagro) set 
out to conquer the country that had been assigned 
to him : the Governor of Nueva Castilla, for that 
was the name of Pizarro's province, returned to 
superintend the building of his new town, Los 
Reyes. Juan Pizarro was left in command at 
Cusco. It was soon after the reconciliation of the 
two Governors that Fernando Pizarro returned 
from the Court of Spain. He had undertaken to 


raise a benevolence for the court from the colonists 
of Peru. 

In order to obtain the sum required from Cusco^ 
and also to keep the Indians quiet (for an uncle of 
Manco Inca had been lately rebelling and en- 
deavouring to persuade his nephew to join in the 
rebellion), Pizarro resolved to send his brother 
Fernando to supersede Juan in the government of 
that city. It is said that the Marquis had respect 
also to any danger there might be from the 
smothered discontent of the Mariscal or his fol- 
lowers, and, therefore, wished to have a person 
of Fernando's weight and authority at the city, 
which was nearest to Almagro's province. Fer- 
nando did not hesitate to treat the Inca with much 
favour, although there appeared a good deal of 
dissatisfaction among; the Indians in the neio:h- 
bourhood. An Indian, named Villaoma (whom 
the Peruvians held in the same veneration in 
which the Spaniards held the pope), now returned 
to Cusco from having attended the Mariscal, with 
whom he had gone as captain of the Indian forces. 
News came of a revolt of the district of Collao ; 
still the Inca was not suspected of being concerned 
in it; nay, leave was given him to go out of the 


city of Cusco to receive Villaoma on his return. 
Thereupon the two great Indian authorities, the 
Inca and the High Priest, returned together into 
Cusco, and both went straight to the Temple of 
the Sun ; and there, according to Valverde, Vil- 
laoma not only complained of the injuries he had 
received when with Almagro, but counselled re- 
volt. Fernando Pizarro, however, had no sus- 
picion of this plot, for two days afterwards he 
gave permission to the Inca, and to many of 
the chiefs, to go to a valley where his father 
was buried, in order to perform the customary 
annual rites at his tomb. 

On the 18th of April, 1536, the Inca, with 
Villaoma, went out of Cusco, leaving behind them 
some of the principal chiefs, who were suspected 
by the Spaniards. This he did for a blind to his 
real purpose. He had been absent only two days, 
when a Spaniard arrived in the city to inform 
Fernando Pizarro that the Inca was going to 
Ares, fifteen leagues distant, in a very mountain- 
ous district; from which circumstance it might, 
he thought, be concluded he was about to revolt. 
Fernando Pizarro merely sent a message to the 
Inca, begging him to hasten his return, in order 


to accompany him on an expedition to chastise 
the caciques of Collao, who were in rebellion 
(Atahuallpa was right in fearing to lose the pre- 
sence of this Fernando) ; but the Inca took no 
heed of this message. On the contrary, being 
now within the protection of this rugged country, 
he was enabled to proclaim his designs in all their 
fulness. A great assembly was held of the ca- 
ciques and other principal persons of the district ; 
and it may be imagined what orations, full of 
grief, shame, and lamentation, were uttered on 
that occasion. Never had an assemblage of men 
greater reason to complain, greater injuries to 
redress. Their kings dethroned, their temples 
profaned, their priests expelled, their sacred vir- 
gins scorned and violated, their property seized, 
themselves, their lands, their wives, and their 
children given away, in a strange kind of cap- 
tivity * amongst this victorious band of strangers, 
— what eloquence that rage or hate could give 
would be w^anting? It is unlikely that any 
Peruvian chief who spoke on that day was one 
who had not received some deadly domestic in- 

* The system of Encomiendas, 


jury, something of the kind which Christians even 
can hardly pretend to forgive — and which the 
Spanish Christians of that day would certainly 
have thought it a sacred duty to revenge. That 
dusky assemblage might have been seen, waving 
to and fro with emotions of horror and hatred, 
as the chiefs stood upon some level arid spot, 
with the burning sun pouring down upon them, 
to whom each fiery speaker w^ould appeal, as to 
a god, injured, desecrated, and maddened, like 

There can be little doubt that the most ardent 
and earnest appeals were made on this occasion 
to the valour, the piety, and the revengefulness 
of the Peruvian Indians, for a solemn pledge was 
taken, which the assembly could only have been 
prepared for by such adjurations. The Inca 
commanded that two large golden vessels, full of 
wine, should be brought before him ; and then he 
said, " I am determined not to leave a Christian 
alive in all this land; wherefore I intend, in the 
first place, to besiege Cusco. Whoever among 
you resolves to serve me in this design has to 
stake his life upon it. Let him drink." In this 
manner, and with no other condition, many cap- 


tains and principal persons rose and drank; nor 
could it be said that they did not afterwards fulfil 
their part in all the dangers and toils which this 
fatal draught imposed upon them. 

The city of Cusco was worthy of being the 
spot which elicited the last great effort of the 
Peruvians to rid themselves of their invaders. 
There is no capital in Europe that has been con- 
structed on so grand a plan. Cusco was, as it 
were, a microcosm of the whole empire. As the 
men of different tribes came up from Antisuyo, 
Condesuyo, CoUasuyo, and Chinchasuyo, they 
ranged themselves in the outskirts adjacent to the 
four quarters of the town corresponding with 
these four divisions of the empire ; and each tribe 
took up its position as nearly as possible in the 
same geographical order which it held in its own 
country. The tribe that was to the north of it 
in its own country was to the north of it also in 
Cusco. Each tribe, also, had an especial head- 
dress, and was discernible from all the rest, either 
by a difference in the colour of the sash wound 
round the head, or by a difference in the colour of 
the feathers. The Inca, in traversing his city, 
was thus enabled to review every section of his 


empire^ and to recognize the inhabitants of each 
district at a glance. 

The greater part of the houses in the city were 
constructed, either wholly or partly, of stone, 
though some were built of bricks burnt in the 
sun. Two streams entered Cusco, and traversed 
the city. They entered under bridges, with 
flood-gates, to prevent inundation. These streams, 
in their passage through the city, had beds of ma- 
sonry to run in, so that the water might always 
be clear and clean. One of the streams passed 
through the great square. A huge fortress over- 
awed the city. The stones, or rather rocks, of 
which the demi-lunes and other parts of the for- 
tress were constructed, seemed of Cyclopean 
work. The Spaniards said that not even "the 
bridge of Segovia, or the other buildings which 
Hercules and the Romans had made, were worthy 
to be compared to the citadel of Cusco." An 
eye-witness says, " I measured a stone at Tia- 
guanaco, thirty-eight feet long, eighteen feet 
broad, and about six feet thick ; but in the wall 
of the fortress of Cusco, which is constructed of 
masonry, there are many stones of much greater 
size." It appears, from modern research, that 


some of these stones were fifty feet long, twenty- 
two feet broad, and six feet thick. How they 
were conveyed thither is a problem which has 
exercised ingenious men ever since the conquest. 
But the works of despotic monarchs of the olden 
time, who could employ an army to fetch a single 
stone, have always astonished more civilized na- 
tions, accustomed to a reasonable economy in the 
use of human labour. 

It seems that cement was used by the Peru- 
vians ; but the work at Cusco was so exquisitely 
inished that none of this cement was visible, for 
^he masonry appeared ^^ as smooth as a table." 
this, however, was only at the junction of the 
$ones ; the rest of the stonework was left in the 
ame state as it had been when taken from the 
4iarry. Part of the fortress was an immense 
at?enal, which, under the rule of the Incas, had 
contained large stores of arms and accoutrements 
of Jl kinds — also of metals, such as tin, lead, 
silver and gold. 

0\ a hill which overlooked the city, there were 
certai\ small towers that served as gnomons, and 
were ^ed for solar observations. 

In (usco and its environs, including the whole 


valley which could be seen from the top of the 
tower, it is said that there were a hundred 
thousand houses. Amongst these were shops 
and storehouses, and places for the reception of 
tribute. A strange practice of the Peruvians 
may account in some measure for this enormous 
extent of building. It appears that when the 
great lords died, their houses were not occupied 
by their successors, but were, nevertheless, not 
suffered to fall into decay ; and an establishment 
was kept up in them. In honour of the deceased 

There was a large vacant space left in the 
town for the erection of future palaces, it beirg 
the custom for every reigning Inca to build a 
new palace. 

The great Temple of the Sun had, before tie 
Spaniards rifled Cusco, been a building of sinju- 
lar gorgeousness. The interior was plated rith 
gold; and on each side of the central ima^e of 
the Sun were ranged the embalmed bodies d the 
Incas, sitting upon their golden thrones raised 
upon pedestals of gold. All round the >utside 
of the building, at the top of the walh ran a 
coronal of gold about three feet in deptl Ad- 


jacent to the Temple of the Sun were other 
buildings, also beautifully adorned, which had 
been dedicated to the moon, the stars, to thunder, 
lightning, and the rainbow. Each of these minor 
buildings had its appropriate paintings and adorn- 
ments. Then there were the schools of the learned 
Amautas and the Haravecs, or poets, which might 
be entered by a private way from the palace of 
the Inca Roca, who had delighted to listen to the 
discourses of the wise men of his dominions. 

Cusco, independently of its temples and its 
palaces and its court, was in itself an object of 
fond admiration to the Peruvians; and, as Gar- 
cilaso declares, it was to them what Rome was to 
the rest of the world.^ 

Such was the city, not less dear because dis- 
honoured and disfigured, that Manco Inca and 
his brave companions in arms had pledged them- 
selves to regain. 

* Pedro de Ciega, one of the persons who saw Cusco 
within the first twenty years after the Spanish conquest, 
says " Cusco was grand and stately : it must have been 
founded by a people of great intelligence." — Pedro de 
CiEQA, Chronica del Peru^ parte i. cap. 92. 


The Siege of Cusco by the Revolted Peruvians, 

^ERNANDO PIZARRO, having been 
soon informed that Manco Inca really- 
had revolted, far from awaiting the 
attack, lost no time in making an endeavour to 
seize upon the Inca's person. The friendly- 
heights, however, protected the Indian sove- 
reign, and Pizarro could not come near him. 
There were now many skirmishes near Ares 
between the Spaniards and the Peruvians, in 
which the slaughter of the Inca's forces was 
immense. Still the Indians, from all their four 
provinces, Chinchasuyo, Collasuyo, Condesuyo, 
and Antisuyo, came pouring in upon the scene 
of action. On the heights the Indians began to 
prevail, though in the plains, where the Spanish 


cavalry could act, it was like a company of 
butchers amid innumerable flocks of sheep. In 
one of these skirmishes the Indians, who were 
beginning to learn the craft of war, retreated 
until they led their enemies into an ambuscade, 
where no less than twenty thousand Indians 
poured down upon the Spaniards. The ground 
was so rough that the horses were disabled from 
acting, and though Juan and Gonzalo Pizarro 
did all that they could to retrieve the day, they 
were obliged to withdraw their forces into the 
city. Their Indian followers, who had been 
stationed in the fortress commanding Cusco, 
were driven out of it; and it was occupied by 
the enemy. But Fernando Pizarro, one of the 
most valiant men, not only of the captains in 
America, but of any in that age, beat back the 
pursuers and regained the fortress. Juan Pizarro 
was wounded in this battle. 

The whole aspect of affairs now began to look 
very threatening for the Spaniards. A question 
arose whether it would be better to occupy the 
fortress or to abandon it to the enemy. Juan 
Pizarro contended that it should be abandoned, 
arguing that if the Indians were to occupy the 


fortress, the Spaniards could retake it whenever 
they pleased, and that it would be unwise to 
divide their small force. This advice seemed to 
be judicious, and was adopted. 

Fernando Pizarro now resolved to form his 
horsemen into three " companies," placing each 
company under a captain. He had but ninety 
horsemen, and he gave thirty to each of the three 
commanders, committing to his guard a third 
part of the town. To the foot-soldiers he did 
not assign any especial part of the town to de- 
fend, because they were very few, and the enemy 
made little account of them. The next day, 
being Saturday, the Feast of '^ St. John before 
the Latin Gate," when the garrison awoke, they 
found the fortress occupied by the hostile Indians; 
and then the siege of Cusco may be said to have 
commenced. The disproportion of numbers was 
immense. There may have been one or two 
thousand Indian auxiliaries attached to the 
Spanish cause ; but the besiegers, as was after- 
wards ascertained, amounted to a hundred thou- 
sand warriors and eighty thousand attendants for 
camp-service. They immediately set fire to those 
houses, which lay between the fortress and the 


town; and^ under cover of this fire, they con- 
tinued to gain ground, making barricades in the 
streets, and digging holes, so that the cavalry 
could not act against them. 

It is impossible not to sympathise in some 
measure with the Peruvians, and to rejoice when- 
ever they obtain any success on their side, so 
that, if only for a moment, the tide of war is 
turned against those remorseless missionaries, the 
Spaniards. On this day, which was probably the 
last on which the natives in all that vast continent 
had any real chance of disembarrassing themselves 
of their invaders, not only fire, but air, came to 
the aid of the weaker side. There was, fortu- 
nately for them, a high wind, and the roofs being 
of straw or rushes, the fire spread so rapidly that 
at one moment it appeared as if the whole city 
were one sheet of flame. The war-cries of the 
assailants were appalling. The smoke was so 
dense that sight and hearing were alike confused. 
But the Spaniards were not men to be easily 
daunted. Each captain held his ground in his 
own quarter, where, however, the Indians pressed 
in upon them in such a manner that they could do 
no more than hold their ground, having scarcely 


room to fight. Fernando Pizarro was to be seen, 
now in one quarter, now in another, wherever the 
distress was greatest. The Indians, who sup- 
posed that the day was really theirs, threw them- 
selves with the greatest bravery into the streets, 
fighting hand to hand with the Spaniards; dis- 
playing that desperate valour which takes no 
heed of the inequality of weapons, and giving 
blows which they must have been aware would 
be returned on the instant with a hundredfold 
the vigour and effect that there could be in their 

Fernando Pizarro saw that, without some 
change in the mode of resistance, all was lost 
for the Spaniards. Drawing, therefore, from 
each company, a few men, amounting altogether 
to only twenty, he made a sally on the road to 
Condesuyo ; and, coming round upon the Indians 
from that quarter, charged them vigorously and 
drove them back with great slaughter to the 
rough part of the sierra, where they again re- 
formed their ranks and renewed the battle. Still, 
however, the ardour of the fight did not abate in 
the central part of the city, to which Fernando 
Pizarro returned to resume his command-in-chief. 


There was still no rest for the Spaniards. The 
city continued to burn. The Indian High Priest, 
Villaoma, who was likewise the General, occu- 
pied and maintained the fortress. In the city, 
a^ the houses were burnt, the Indians mounted 
upon the blackened walls, and moving along them 
were enabled, in that favourable position, to press 
on the attack. Thence they could deride all the 
efforts of horsemen to dislodge them. So the 
contest continued for days. Neither by day nor 
by night did they give any rest to the Spaniards, 
who were obliged to make perpetual sallies in 
order to throw down walls, destroy barricades, 
fill up great holes, and break up channels by 
which the Indians were letting water in upon 
them, so as to produce an artificial inundation. 
Thus for six days the warfare continued, until 
the Indians gained nearly the whole of the city, 
the Spaniards being able only to hold the great 
square, and some houses which surrounded it. 

Many of the Spaniards now began to look 
upon their cause as hopeless. Flight by means 
of their horses was comparatively easy ; and there 
were not wanting those who counselled the aban- 
donment of the city, and the attempt to save their 



own lives, if it could be accomplished by this 
sacrifice. Fernando Pizarro, who was as great 
in counsel as in war, with a smile replied, ^^ I do 
not know, sefiores, why you wish to do this, for 
in my mind there is not, and there has not been, 
any fear." From shame they did not dare to 
declare their thoughts in his presence, and so the 
matter passed off until the evening, when he 
summoned the chief Spaniards together, and, with 
a serene countenance, he thus addressed them: 
" I have called you together, seiiores, because it 
appears to me that the Indians each day disgrace 
us more and more, and I believe that the cause 
of this is the weakness that there is in some of 
us, which is no little, since you openly maintain 
that we should give up the city. Wherefore, if 
you, Juan Pizarro, give such an opinion, how is 
it that you had courage to defend the city against 
Almagro, when he sought to rebel ? and as for 
you," turning to the treasurer, " it would appear 
a very ugly thing for you to talk in this fashion, 
since you have charge of the royal fifths, and are 
obliged to give account of them with the same 
obligation that he is to give account of the for- 
tress. For you other senores, who are alcaldes 


and regidors^ to whom the execution of the laws 
is committed in this city, it is not for you to com- 
mit such a great folly that you should deliver it 
into the hands of these tyrants." 

Words have been often misused in speeches, 
but never more, perhaps, than in calling the Peru- 
vians, who came to take possession of their own, 
" these tyrants." 

Then he spoke of his own duties. ^^ It would 
be a sad tale to tell of me," he exclaimed, " were 
it to be said that Fernando Pizarro, from any 
motive of fear, had abandoned the territory which 
his brother, Don Francisco Pizarro, had conquered 
and colonized. Wherefore, gentlemen, in the 
service of God and of the King, sustaining your 
houses and your estates, die, rather than desert 
them. If I am left alone, I will pay with my life 
the obligation which lies upon me, rather than 
have it said that another gained the city, and 
that I lost it." He then reminded them of 
the commonplace remark, " that with vigour 
that which appears impossible is gained, and 
without vigour even that which is easy appears 

The courage of the assembled Spaniards an- 


swered to this bold appeal; and, as it was now 
agreed upon to defend the city to the utmost, 
Fernando did not hesitate in putting the worst 
before them. He said, *^ The men are worn out, 
the horses are exhausted, and, in the state in which 
we are, it is impossible to hold the city two days 
longer, wherefore it is necessary to lose all our 
lives or to gain the fortress. That being gained, 
the city is secure. To-morrow morning I must 
go with all the horsemen that can be mustered, 
and take that fortress." They answered that the 
horsemen were ready to a man, to die with him, 
or to succeed in that enterprise. Upon this, Juan 
Pizarro, wounded as he was, claimed the principal 
part in the next day's action, saying, '' It was my 
fault that the fortress was not occupied, and I said 
that I would take it whenever it should be ne- 
cessary to do so. Ill would it, therefore, appear, 
if while I am alive any other person should 
undertake the duty for me." 

Fernando Pizarro consented. This question of 
leadership being settled, and two subordinates 
having been chosen, Juan Pizarro lost no time in 
selecting a company of fifty men for the work of 
the morrow, the three captains being himself, his 


brother Gonzalo, and a cavalier named Fernando 

Very early In the morning the fifty men, with 
their leaders, were drawn up in the great square. 
Fernando Pizarro addressed some parting advice 
to his brother Juan, — namely, that, when out of 
the town, he should take the royal road from 
Cusco to Los Keyes, and should not turn until he 
had gone about a league, for, although the fort- 
ress was very near, so many holes had been dug, 
and barricades thrown up by the Indians, that 
there was no hope of taking the fortress except by 
coming round on the far side of it. 

Fernando Pizarro had hardly finished giving 
this advice, when a body of Indians came down 
with the intent of taking a fort which had been 
made as a place of refuge from the great square, 
and which overlooked the whole of it. The two 
sentinels on guard at this fort were asleep — a 
thing not to be wondered at, considering the 
fatigues of the last few days, — and before any 
succour could be given, the Indians had mastered 
the fort. The day, therefore, began with an ill 
omen for the Spaniards. 

Fernando Pizarro ordered in great haste some 


active foot-soldiers to retake this fort, which they 
soon succeeded in doing. When this had been 
accomplished, Fernando united all his forces, 
horse and foot, to gain possession of a very strong 
barricade which the Indians had thrown up, in 
order to prevent the Spaniards from going out of 
the city in the direction of the plain. A body of 
twenty thousand Indians from the district of 
Chinchasuyo kept this barricade. It was fortu- 
nate for the Spaniards that the Indians had not 
delayed their attack upon the fort until a little 
later in the day, for, by this movement towards 
the barricade, Fernando Pizarro was obliged to 
leave the great square nearly undefended. But 
the main body of the Indians had not yet come 
down from their quarters to commence their usual 
attacks upon the city. 

When the Chinchasuyans who had the charge 
of the barricade saw the Spaniards advancing 
upon them in full force, some of them shouted 
out to one another, ^^ Those Christians who have 
the good horses are flying, and the others which 
remain are the sick. Let us allow these to draw 
off, and then we shall be able to kill them all." 
This plan of suffering the Spaniards to divide 


their forces may have had some effect in weaken- 
ing the resistance of the Indians at the barricade ; 
still they fought on with great bravery, but they 
could not prevent the fifty horsemen making their 
way out of the city. The rest of the Spaniards 
returned with all haste to the grand square ; for 
a column of the enemy — from the same division, 
I conjecture, which had once captured the fort in 
the morning — came down again to make another 
attack on it, having seen or heard the skirmish 
at the Chinchasuyan barricade. Fernando Pi- 
zarro, whose part in the conflict it was to make 
decisive charges on critical occasions, rushed out 
with his men, and soon put the Indians to flight, 
for, as the main body of the enemy was still asleep 
in their quarters, this one watchful division could 
not alone resist Pizarro's charge. 

Meanwhile Juan Pizarro had conducted his 
men along the royal road to Los Reyes; and, 
after proceeding as far as had been previously 
agreed upon, had turned to the right, had fought 
his way along the ridges wherever he had en- 
countered any enemy, had come down upon the 
open ground before the fortress, and so established 
a communication between himself and his brother 


in the city. The Indians posted between the 
fortress and the city decamped, some throwing 
themselves into the fortress, and others into other 
strong positions. 

The communication was now so complete, that 
Fernando Pizarro was able to reinforce his 
brother with all the Spanish foot-soldiers and the 
friendly Indians. At the same time he sent 
Juan word on no account to make the attack 
upon the fortress until nightfall, for the enemy 
were so many, and the position so strong, that 
the Spaniards could gain no honour in the attack. 
Fernando also begged his brother not to ad- 
venture his own person in the fight; for on 
account of the wound which Juan had already 
received, he could not put on his morion, and 
Fernando said it would be absolute madness to go 
into battle without that. Juan Pizarro did not 
adopt his brother's advice ; for though he made 
a show of preparation as if he were going to 
bivouac upon the plain for the night, it was only 
a feint, and when he saw that the Indians were 
less on their guard, he gave orders for a sudden 
attack upon some strong positions in front of the 
fortress. Gonzalo Pizarro was entrusted with 


a troop to make this attack. When the Indians 
saw the Spaniards moving upwards^ they came 
down upon them in such a multitude, that Gon- 
zalo Pizarro and his men could not even succeed 
in approaching these fortified outposts. Indeed, 
the Spaniards began to give way before the 
weight of numbers, when Juan Pizarro, " not 
being able to endure " this check, hurried onwards 
to support his brother. The men, animated by 
this sight, for Juan and Gonzalo fought in the 
front rank, rushed forwards, and succeeded in 
taking these strong positions, so that they found 
themselves now under the walls of the principal 
building. Juan Pizarro, not satisfied with this 
partial success, made a bold dash at the entrance 
into the fortress. This entrance was an outwork 
projecting from the body of the fortress, enclosed 
on each side by two low walls, but open at the 
top, so that it might be thoroughly commanded 
from the battlements, having an outer gate cor- 
responding with the principal gate of the fortress. 
The walls which formed this outwork had roofs 
to them, doubtless in order that those of the be- 
sieged who had to defend the post might be 
under cover, while their assailants were exposed 


to missiles from the higher parts of the building. 
Beneath this outwork the crafty Indians liad 
recently dug a deep pitfall. But, unfortunately 
for them, as they came flying in from the pursuit 
of the Spaniards, they fell one upon another, 
heaped together in such a manner that " they 
filled up with their own bodies that which their 
own hands had made." Juan Pizarro, still fight- 
ing in front, advanced upon this road made for 
him by the bodies of his enemies ; but just as he 
entered, a stone, hurled from the heights of the 
fortress, descended upon his unprotected head, 
and laid him senseless on the spot. His men re- 
covered, and bore off the body of their commander, 
in which life was not extinct ; though the wound 
was of a fatal nature, for Juan Pizarro never rose 
from his couch again. 

After this great check, Gonzalo Pizarro, on 
whom the command had now devolved, did what 
he could to reanimate his men ; but his efforts 
were of no avail. The numbers of the enemy 
brought to bear upon the points of attack con- 
tinued to increase, and the Spaniards were obliged 
to draw off from the fortress. The following 
morning, however, the indomitable Fernando 


made a circuit of the stronghold of the Indians, 
and, seeing that it was surrounded by a very 
high wall, came to the conclusion, that, without 
scaling-ladders, there was no hope of taking the 
place. The whole of the day, therefore, was 
spent in making scaling-ladders by all those who 
could be spared for that service. They were not 
many who could be spared, for the enemy gave 
Gonzalo Plzarro and Fernando Ponce no rest all 
day, endeavouring to force the strong position 
which these commanders occupied. The Indians 
in the fortress did all they could by words and 
signs to animate their friends, even calling by 
name upon particular chiefs to come to the res- 
cue ; but the Spaniards maintained their posi- 

That day Fernando Pizarro was to be seen 
everywhere throughout the Spanish quarters. 
He knew that not only the existence of all the 
Spaniards who were there, but that the security 
of the Spanish empire in that part of the world 
was in peril. Here, he hurried with his small 
party of reserve, and left them ; there, alone, he 
threw himself into some post where the effect of 
his personal presence was wanted. The contest 


grew so furious and the shouts so loud (the In- 
dians, like all partially civilized people, were 
great shouters in war), that it seemed ^^ as if the 
whole world was there in fiercest conflict." 

The Inca, whose position was at a spot about 
three leagues distance from Cusco, was not in- 
active. Knowing that the fortress was besieged, 
and being as well aware as Pizarro how important 
the possession of that stronghold was, he sent a 
reinforcement of five thousand of his best soldiers. 
These fresh troops pressed the Spaniards very- 
hard. They not only fought with the animation 
of untired men ; but all the energy that fanati- 
cism could give them, was called forth to succour 
Villaoma, their Chief Priest, who was within the 

In the city itself the battle languished, for 
though some encounters took place there in the 
course of the day, the best part of the Indian 
troops were fighting round the fortress. This 
was an oversight on the part of the Indian ge- 
nerals. More pressure on the Spanish posts in 
the grand square would have compelled the with- 
drawal of some of the Spaniards engaged in in- 
vesting the fortress; and when the contending 


parties are greatly unequal in point of numbers, 
to multiply the points of attack is a mode of 
warfare which must tell disastrously against the 
less numerous party. 

The day went on without either side having 
apparently gained or lost much. But the Spa- 
niards had maintained their positions, while the 
scaling-ladders were being made. These being 
finished, Fernando Pizarro and the foot-soldiers 
commenced their attack at the hour of vespers. 
This was an excellent disposition of the troops. 
The horsemen could fight, as they had been 
fighting all day, to clear the ground about the 
place, while the hardy foot-soldiers, fitter for the 
work of scaling the fortress, must have seemed 
almost a new enemy to the beleaguered Indians. 
Fernando and his men pressed up to the walls 
with the utmost fury and determination. The 
conflict had now lasted about thirty hours, and 
the reinforcements of Indians had not succeeded 
in making their way into the fortress. The suc- 
cour most wanted there was fresh ammunition. 
Stones and darts began to grow scarce amongst 
the besieged ; and Villaoma, seeing the fury of 
his new enemies, resolved to fly. Communicating 


his intentions to some of his friends, with them 
he made his way out of the fortress at the part 
which looked towards the river. The ground 
there was very precipitous, but there were some 
winding passages in the rocks, so constructed that 
they were invisible to the Spaniards below, but 
which were known to the Peruvians. Taking 
this secret route, Villaoma and his friends made 
good their flight, without being perceived by the 
Spaniards ; and, when beyond the walls of the 
fortress, Villaoma collected and drew off the 
division of his army which consisted of the Chin- 
chasuyan Indians. From thence the recreant 
High Priest went to his master the Inca, who, 
when he heard the ill news, was ready to die of 

At the time Villaoma fled, the fortress was 
not altogether lost. In it there remained an 
Indian chief of great estimation amongst his 
people, one of those who had drunk out of the 
o;olden vases, and with whom were all the rest 
of the gallant men who had pledged themselves 
in the like simple but solemn manner. The 
whole night through these devoted men main- 
tained their position. Fernando Pizarro's efforts 


throughout those eventful hours were such as 
desperation only could inspire ; and, as the day 
dawned, he had the satisfaction of perceiving that 
the defence of the Indians began to slacken, not 
that their brave hearts were daunted, but that 
the magazine of stones and arrows was fairly 

The fate of the beleaguered Indians was now 
clear to all beholders, to none clearer than to 
themselves ; still this nameless captain gave no 
signs of surrender. ^' There is not written of any 
Koman such a deed as he did." These are the 
honest words of the Spanish narrator. Traversing 
all parts of the fortress with a club in his hand, 
wherever he saw one of his warriors who was 
giving way, he struck him down, and hurled his 
body upon the besiegers. He himself had two 
arrows in him, of which he took no more account 
than if they were not there. Seeing at last that 
it was not an Indian here and there who was 
giving way, but that the whole of his men were 
exhausted, and that the Spaniards were pressing 
up on the scaling-ladders at all points, he per- 
ceived that the combat was hopeless* One wea- 
pon alone remained to him, his club. That he 


dashed down upon the besiegers; and then, as 
a last expression of despair, taking earth in his 
hands, he bit it, and rubbed his face with it,* 
" with such signs of anguish and heartsickness 
as cannot be described." Having thus expressed 
his rage and his despair, resolving not to behold 
the enemy's entrance, he hurled himself, the last 
thing he had to hurl, from the height down upon 
the invaders, that they might not triumph over 
him, and that he might fulfil the pledge he had 
given when he drank from the golden vases. The 
hero of the Indians having thus perished, no pre- 
tence of further resistance could be made. Fer- 
nando Pizarro and his men made good their 
entrance, and disgraced their victory by putting 
the besieged to the sword, who were in number 
above fifteen hundred. 

Such was the dismay occasioned among the 
Peruvians by the capture of the fortress, that 
they deserted their positions near the city, and 
retired to their encampments, which were well 
fortified. The next morning Fernando Pizarro 

* " And they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled 
pust upon their heads toward heaven." — Job ii. 12. 


sallied forth and became the assailant, and the 
slaughter of the Peruvians was immerile, day 
after day. 

It was, however, soon found that the Indians 
had desisted from attacking the city not from ill- 
success only, but from being called away by cer- 
tain religious ceremonies; for, having completed 
their sacrificial rites, they recommenced the siege, 
but this time under very different auspices. The 
Spaniards now not only occupied the fortress, but 
had extended their works beyond the city; and 
the Indians were not able to gain an entrance 
into any part of it. This second and futile siege 
lasted twenty days, when the new moon again 
compelled them to withdraw to perform their re- 
ligious rites. Fernando Pizarro again became the 
assailant, and the slaughter of the Peruvians was 
immense ; yet, upon the completion of their cere- 
monial sacrifices, they again returned ; when the 
Spanish commander took a terrible resolve. He 
gave orders to all his men that they should slay 
every Indian woman they came up with, in order 
that the survivors might not dare to come and serve 
their husbands and their children. This cruel 
scheme was so successful, that the Indians aban- 



doned the siege, fearing to lose their wives, and 
the wives fearing death. 

Fernando Pizarro was now at liberty to ascer- 
tain what had become of his brother the Marquis 
at Los Reyes. He had already conceived it pro- 
bable that Los Reyes had been invested at the 
same time as Cusco. It was possible that his 
brother had not been able to drive back the be- 
siegers. The Spaniards, in their attacks upon 
the Indians who were now retreating, came upon 
some fragments of letters that had been seized by 
them, and found that succour had been sent from 
Los Reyes ; and, by torture, they learned further 
that various parties had been sent to their aid 
during the siege, which had all been intercepted; 
and that the Inca had, as trophies, two hundred 
heads of Christians, and one hundred and fifty 
skins of horses. The Indians who were tortured 
believed, likewise, that the Governor with all his 
people had embarked from Los Reyes and deserted 
the country. 

But Francisco Pizarro was not reduced to such 
straits as those. 

When, Indeed, at the beginning of the siege of 
Cusco, the various parties, amounting to two hun- 


dred men and a great number of horses, which he 
had sent to the assistance of his brothers, were 
cut off, and he could gain no intelligence whatever 
from Cusco, he felt his position to be most critical. 
He summoned back one of his principal captains, 
whom he had sent in another direction. He wrote 
to Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala, New Spain, 
and to the audiencia in Hispaniola, praying for 
instant succour. Indeed, he offered Alvarado 
that, if he would come to his rescue, he would 
leave him the land of Peru, and would himself 
return to Panama or Spain. 

Meanwhile the Indians, to the number of fifty 
thousand, and under the command of a great chief 
named Teyyupangui, began to invest Los Reyes. 
Pizarro made his preparations. The Indians ad- 
vanced towards the town, and forced their way 
over the walls and into the streets ; their general, 
with a lance in his hand, advancing in front of his 
men. But, as the ground was level, the Spanish 
cavaliers were enabled to act with all the tre- 
mendous superiority which their arms, their horses, 
and their armour gave them. Their success was 
instantaneous. Unfortunately for the Indians, 
Teyyupangui and the principal men who sur- 


rounded him were slain in this first encounter. 
The loss of their general entirely dispirited the 
Indian forces. The Spaniards, following up 
their advantage, drove the enemy back to the foot 
of the sierra which overlooked the town; and 
Pizarro, on the succeeding night, would have 
stormed the heights where the Indians had taken 
refuge ; but he received intelligence that they had 
broken up their camp, and had fled. This was 
the end of the siege of Los Reyes. 

Immediate steps were now taken for the relief 
of Fernando Pizarro at Cusco ; but, as the num- 
ber of men that could be spared was but small, 
the commander was not to move on to Cusco 
until he should receive reinforcements. 

In the meantime, Fernando Pizarro had delivered 
himself, and supposing himself to be alone in the 
country, had not ceased to press the Indians with 
all the vigour possible. The result was that the 
Indians began to give up the contest. 

Rumours now arose that Almagro was return- 
ing from Chili. This was first communicated by 
the Indian captives, and they threatened Fernando 
Pizarro and his men, saying that the Adelantado 
was coming, and he was their friend, and intended 


to kill all the Spaniards of Cusco. And in about 
two months' time there arrived certain intelligence 
that the Adelantado^ with five hundred Spaniards, 
was within seven leagues of Cusco. 

The conquest of Peru may be said to have 
been now completed. The sieges of Cusco and 
Los Reyes show that it was not such an easy task 
as some historians have supposed ; they manifest 
great valour on the part of the Peruvian Indians, 
and, moreover, give an instance, of the many to 
be met with, that the second great resistance of a 
conquered people is often the most difficult to 
overcome. The internal dissensions of the Peru- 
vians, which were at their height when Pizarro 
first arrived in the country, must be considered 
as having furnished no slight aid to the Spaniards ; 
and. in the absence of such dissensions, the con- 
quest might have been deferred for many years. 
Each year the Peruvians would have attained 
more skill in resisting horsemen; and, as it has 
been observed before, horses were the chief means 
of conquest which the Spaniards possessed. How 
completely the Peruvians were dismayed by horses 
may be inferred from the fact that, when they 
had these animals in their power, they put them 


to death, instead of attempting to make use of 
them. There is no good evidence to show that 
a single horse was spared, wlien the Inca's troops 
succeeded in overpowering the cavalry that was 
sent by Pizarro to reinforce his brothers at 


Almagro returns from Chili, claims Cusco — Fernayido Pi- 
zarro negotiates with him — Almagro treacherously enters 
Cusco hy night — Imprisons the brothers Pizarro, and de- 
feats Francisco Pizarro's commander, Alonzo de Alva- 

HE return of Almagro from Chili was 
not much to be wondered at. From 
the first landing of Pizarro, to the 
taking of Cusco, the advance of the Spaniards 
had been little other than a triumphant march. 
Conquerors had been borne along in hammocks 
on the shoulders of obsequious Indians, to rifle 
temples plated with gold : but the advance into 
Chili was an enterprise of a different kind. Al- 
magro and his men went by the sierras and re- 
turned by the plains. In both journeys they had 
great hardships to suffer. In the snowy passes 


men and horses had been frozen to death ; and on 
their return by the plain they had been obliged 
to traverse a horrible region, called the desert 
of Atacama, which could only be passed with 
the greatest difficulty. 

On what pretext did they return, as there were 
no new circumstances to justify such a course? 
The despatches from Spain, appointing Almagro 
governor of New Toledo, only reached him after 
he had commenced his journey into Chili ; but he 
had been informed of their contents before, and 
he had taken that solemn oath, when the host was 
broken by the two governors, in perfect cogniz- 
ance of his rights. The revolt of the Indians 
was made known to him ; but it cannot be for a 
moment assumed that this was the real cause of 
his return. 

It is very likely that the question of the limits 
of his government was often renewed and dis- 
cussed by his men and officers in the course 
of their march and over their watch-fires, and 
being discussed with all the passion and prejudice 
of eager partisans, it is very probable that there 
was not a man in Almagro's little army who did 
not think that Cusco fell within the limits of his 


commander's government. Their misery doubt- 
less sharpened their prejudices, and Almagro's 
weary, frost-bitten men must have sighed for the 
palatial splendours and luxuries of Cusco ; which 
they had foolishly given up, as they would have 
said, to these Pizarros. Even the mines of Po- 
tosi, had they been aware of their existence, would 
hardly have proved a sufficient inducement to 
detain Almagro's men in Chili. But Potosi was 
as yet undiscovered, and Cusco was well known 
to every individual in the army. Under such 
circumstances, the Mariscal's return may be set 
down as faithless, treacherous, or unwise, but it 
cannot be considered other than as most natural, 
A greater man than Almagro might have carried 
his companions onwards, but Almagro was chiefly 
great in bestowing largesses, and Chili afforded 
no scope for such a commander. 

It must not be supposed that the question of 
the limits to Pizarro's government was an easy 
one, and that it was merely passion and prejudice, 
which decided, in the minds of Almagro's follow- 
ers, that Cusco fell within the province of New 
Toledo. There were several ways of reckoning 
the two hundred and seventy-five leagues which 


had been assigned to Pizarro. They might be 
measured along the royal road. This would not 
have suited Pizarro's followers, who contended 
that the leagues were to be reckoned as the crow 
flies. ^^ Even if so," replied Almagro's partisans, 
"the line is not to be drawn from north to south, 
but from east to west." They also contended 
that these leagues might be measured on the sea- 
coast, in which case the sinuosities of the coast 
line would have to be taken into account. In 
short, it was a question quite sufficiently dubious 
in itself to admit of prejudice coming in on 
both sides with all the appearance of judicial 

However that may be, Almagro and his men 
took the fatal step of returning to maintain their 
supposed rights, which step a nicer sense of 
honour would have told them that they had, 
whether wisely or not, abandoned, when they 
quitted Cusco. 

The two counsellors who had most influence 
over Almagro's mind were men whose dispositions 
presented a strange and violent contrast. One 
was Diego de Alvarado, a person of the utmost 
nobility of nature and, at the same time, delicacy 


of character. The other adviser was Eodrigo de 
Orgonez, a hard, fierce, fanatic soldier, who had 
served in the wars of Italy. The conduct of the 
governor varied according to the advice listened 
to from one or other of these widely-different 
counsellors. The mild counsels of Alvarado were 
listened to in the morning; and some unscrupulous 
deed, prompted probably by Orgofiez, was trans- 
acted in the evening. 

What effect their approach must have had upon 
Fernando Pizarro and his immediate adherents 
may be easily imagined. For many months he 
and his men had scarcely known what it was to 
have two days of rest. The efforts of the Indians 
were now slackening; and just at this moment 
there arrived an enemy who was to replace the 
softly-clad and poorly-armed Indians by men with 
arms, spirit, and accoutrements equal to those of 
the Spaniards of Cusco, and in numbers greatly 

The first movement, however, of the Mariscal 
was not directed against the Spaniards in Cusco. 
Previously to attacking them he strove to come 
to terms with their enemy, the Inca Manco. Had 
he succeeded in this politic design, he would then 


have been able to combine the Inca's forces with 
his own, and would also have had the appearance 
of having intervened to settle the w^ar between 
the Indians and the Spaniards. This plan, how- 
ever, failed. Meanwhile Fernando Pizarro had 
made several attempts to negotiate with Almagro, 
or at least to penetrate his designs. He endea- 
voured, by messengers, to lay before the Mariscal 
some of the motives which should regulate his 
conduct at this crisis, saying how much it would 
be for the service of God that peace should be 
maintained between them : if it were not, they 
would all be lost, and the Inca would remain 
lord of the whole country. He offered Almagro 
to receive him in the city with all honour, saying 
that Almagro's own quarters were prepared for 
him; but, before all things, Fernando Pizarro 
urged that a messenger might be sent to the 
Marquis, in order that he might come and settle 
matters amicably, and that, meanwhile, the Maris- 
cal should enter the town with all his attendants. 
To this message an evasive reply was sent by 
Almagro, who, on a Monday, the 18th of April, 
1537, made his appearance, with all his people, 
and pitched his camp at a league's distance from 


Fernando Pizarro invited him again to enter 
the city as a friend. To this Almagro haughtily 
replied, " Tell Fernando Pizarro that I am not 
going to enter the city, except as mine, or to 
lodge in any lodgings but those where he is," — 
meaning that he would occupy the governor's 
apartments. Fernando Pizarro sent another 
message, pointing out to Almagro the danger to 
be apprehended from the revolted Indians, and 
begging that there might be amity between them 
until the Marquis should arrive. To this Al- 
magro replied that he had authority from the 
king as governor, and that he was determined 
to enter Cusco. Having said this, Almagro ad- 
vanced nearer, encamping within a crossbow shot 
of the city. Both sides now prepared for battle ; 
but Fernando Pizarro, whose prudence through- 
out these transactions is very remarkable, called 
a council; and it was agreed by them that an 
alcalde with two regidors should go to Almagro's 
camp to demand of him, on the part of the Em- 
peror, that he should not disturb the city, but 
that, if he had powers from his Majesty, he should 
present them before the council, in order that 
they might see whether his Majesty had con- 


ferred upon him the governorship of that city. 
As Fernando Pizarro had procured the powers, 
and brought them from Spain, he knew very well 
what they contained ; but it was a reasonable 
request that the grounds upon which Almagro 
sought to enter the town should be laid before 
the governing body. 

Almagro, especially if he listened at all to 
Diego de Alvarado, could not well refuse his 
assent to this proposition. Accordingly a truce 
was made for that day and until the next at noon. 
Early on the ensuing morning Almagro sent his 
powers to be laid before the Town Council, but 
demanded that Fernando Pizarro, as an interested 
party, should absent himself from the council. 
Fernando Pizarro conceded this point. The 
powers were formally laid before the alcaldes and 
the regidors, who, taking into council a graduate, 
perhaps Valverde himself, pronounced against 
Almagro's claims, — they desired that the division- 
line of the respective governments should be 
made, and that, until this should be settled by 
" pilots," Almagro should not give room for such 
a great scandal as forcing an entrance into the 
city, which they declared would be the ruin of 


all parties. ^^ If," they sald^ *^ when the division 
has been settled, this city should fall within the 
limits of Almagro's government, they would be 
ready to receive him as governor, but upon any 
other footing they would not receive him." 

Almagro, having received this spirited and sen- 
sible decision of the council, gave orders to his 
men, it being now mid-day, to prepare themselves 
for making an attack upon Cusco. Fernando 
Pizarro gave similar orders for the defence of the 
city. At this last moment the royal treasurer, 
and a licentiate named Prado, went out of the 
town and succeeded in prevailing upon Almagro 
to extend the time of the truce to the hour of 
vespers on the Wednesday in that same week, 
Almagro saying that he wished to prove how 
Cusco fell within his limits. 

That evening Almagro, to his great dishonour, 
must have listened to his less scrupulous coun- 
sellor, for he resolved to surprise the city. 

Fernando Pizarro, who was a perfect cavalier^ 
was completely at his ease that night, expecting 
now that he and Almagro would be able to come 
to terms, until he should have time to let the 
Marquis know what was passing. At midnight 


there was a disturbance in Almagro's camp, it 
being given out that the bridges which led to 
the city were broken down. Immediately the 
soldiers shouted, ^^ Almagro, Almagro ! Let the 
traitors die ! " and they rushed over all the four 
bridges, not one of which was broken down, into 
the great square. Thence they spread themselves 
into the streets, Orgoiiez with a large body of 
troops making his way to the governor's apart- 
ments, still shouting, ^^ Almagro, Almagro ! " Fer- 
nando Pizarro was in bed when the alarm was 
given. He had time, however, to put on his 
armour Fifteen men alone remained with him 
and his brother Gonzalo. Fernando placed him- 
self at one door of the palace, Gonzalo at another ; 
but the palace was as large as a church, and the 
doorways were proportionately large, without 
doors to them. The building was set on fire. 
Of their fifteen comrades several were cut down, 
fighting by their side, and it was not until the 
roof began to fall in that these brave Pizarros, 
overpowered by numbers, were overcome and 
made prisoners. 

Almagro took formal possession of Cusco as its 
governor, and began to persecute those who held 


with the Pizarros. Meanwhile Alonzo de Alva- 
rado, the commander whom Francisco Pizarro 
had sent out for the relief of Ciisco from the 
Indians, was waiting at Xauxa for orders and 
reinforcements. Francisco Pizarro had now re- 
ceived men and arms from all parts of Spanish 
America. He lost no time in sending on these 
succours to Alonzo de Alvarado, and would have 
gone himself, but that the citizens of Los Reyes 
had insisted that, on account of his age, he should 
not undertake this expedition. 

Alonzo de Alvarado, on his way to Cusco, 
learned what had happened there and how the 
Mariscal was now in possession of the city. Al- 
magro, on his side, learned from Alvarado's letters 
to Fernando Pizarro that he was coming ; and, 
not supposing that Alvarado knew of what had 
happened, sent a forged letter in Fernando Pi- 
zarro's name, to say that he had been able to 
maintain his position, and to suggest that Alva- 
rado should take a certain route which he men- 
tioned. This route Almagro knew would lead 
into a defile, where he hoped to be able to dis- 
arm Alvarado's men easily. Alvarado was only 
amused at such an attempt to deceive him. Al- 



magro now tried by an embassage to treat with 
Alonzo de Alvarado. Alvarado, though he wished 
to show much courtesy to these friends of Al- 
magro, and begged them to excuse him, took 
away their arms, and placed them in confine- 

Almagro, receiving no answer to his embassage, 
moved out from Cusco to the bridge of Aban9ay, 
where Alonzo de Alvarado had taken up his 
position. He had not omitted, since his occu- 
pation of Cusco, to attempt to come to terms 
with the Peruvians. Failing, however, in nego- 
tiating with Manco Inca he had given the borla 
to Manco's brother PauUo, whose Indians now 
proved very serviceable. At this juncture Alva- 
rado sent fourteen horsemen to inform the Marquis 
of all that had happened. There were many 
desertions from Alvarado to Almagro's camp. 
Pedro de Lerma, the second in command, went 
over to Almagro, w^hose forces, independently of 
the Indians, far outnumbered those of Alvarado. 
After much fruitless negotiation nothing was left 
but an appeal to arms. Accordingly, an attack 
on Alvarado's position was made at nightfall. 
The treachery of the men on that side was 


flagrant, and Almagro had not much difficulty 
in gaining a complete victory. Alvarado sur- 
rendered, and narrowly escaped being put to death 
by Orgonez, 

Almagro's troops, flushed with success, declared 
that they would not leave one "Pzz«rro" (a slate) 
to stumble over. The counsel, given by Orgonez, 
always the most uncompromising that could be 
thought of, was to kill the Pizarros and march 
at once to Los Keyes. The plan of marching 
upon Los Reyes was so far adopted, that it was 
proclaimed by sound of trumpet that all should 
prepare themselves for the march. There were, 
however, persons in Almagro's camp who had 
wives and families at Los Reyes, and they did 
not approve of this proposal. After the matter 
had remained two days in doubt it was resolved 
to return to Cusco. When they arrived there, 
Almagro issued a proclamation that no inhabit- 
ants of that city should make use of his Indians : 
for he, the Governor, suspended the repartimientos^ 
as the Bishop of Cusco remarks, not wishing that 
any one should have anything for certain, until 
he himself should make the general repartimiento. 
This led to the greatest disorder, as no one had 


any certain interest in the welfare of any of the 
Indians, and consequently the Spaniards behaved 
to them with careless insolence and cruelty.* 
The next thing that was resolved upon at Cusco 
was for Orgonez to make an attack upon the 
rebel Inca, which he did with great success, 
coming so close upon him that he made himself 
master of a golden ornament, called '^ the sun," 
which was greatly venerated among the Indians, 
and which Orgonez brought home for Paullo. 
Thus, in every way Almagro's faction was 

* A rienda suelta, " with loose bridle," as the Bishop 



Negotiations hetween the Marquis and the Mariscal respectir>g 
the Boundaries of their Governments — The Renewal of 
Hostilities — Fernando Pizarro takes the Command of his 
Brother's Army. 

EANWHILE the whole family of Pi- 
zarro were in great sadness and afflic- 
tion. Fernando and Gonzalo must have 
heard in their prison the joyous return of those 
who had conquered their friends ; and the Mar- 
quis, who did not even yet know the worst, when 
he received the news brought him by Alvarado's 
fourteen horsemen, broke out into loud complaints 
of his ill fortune. He sent orders at once to 
Alvarado not to move on to Cusco ; but before 
his messengers had left Los Keyes the fatal battle 
of Aban9ay had taken place. When Pizarro 
heard of this he resolved to send an embassage to 


treat with Almagro. The persons he chose were 
the factor Ulan Suarez de Carvajal^ the licentiate 
Gaspar de Espinosa, Diego de Fuenmayor, a 
brother of the president of the Audiencia at San 
Domingo, and the licentiate de la Gama, 

When these important personages had arrived 
at Cusco they found that they could make no way 
in their mission. Almagro said that he would not 
give up a hand's-breadth of the land which his 
Majesty had conferred upon him, and that he was 
determined to go to Los Keyes and take posses- 
sion of that city. Diego de Fuenmayor produced 
an ordinance from the Audihicia of San Domingo, 
which had been prepared in contemplation of the 
probability of these feuds. But Almagro made 
light of this authority. The exhortations of Gas- 
par de Espinosa met with no better fate; and 
yet, if there were any one to whom Almagro 
might be expected to listen, it was this licentiate. 
He had been a partner in the original enterprise 
of Pizarro and Almagro. He was a man of great 
experience in colonial affairs. He had been judge 
In Vasco Nunez's case, and was not likely to un- 
derrate the evils arising from the infraction of 
authority. '^ Are not, in truth," he said, "these 


regions wide enough to extend your authority in, 
without, for the sake of a few leagues more or 
less, doing that which will irritate Heaven, offend 
the King, and fill the world with scandals and 
disasters ? " 

But Almagro held firm to his resolve of main- 
taining what he considered to be his rights: 
whereupon Espinosa exclaimed, '^ Well, then, Se- 
nor Adelantado, that will come to pass here which 
the old Castilian proverb speaks of, ^ The con- 
quered conquered, and the conqueror ruined.'"* 

Espinosa fell ill and died at Cusco; and the 
embassage proved entirely abortive. There is 
this to be said in defence of Almagro's conduct, 
that it was impossible for him now to do anything 
which was not full of danger and difficulty. Fi- 
nally, he resolved to move forwards to Los Reyes, 
carrying Fernando Pizarro with him, and leaving 
Gonzalo Pizarro and Alonzo de Alvarado at 
Cusco, in the charge of a numerous body of 
guards. When Almagro halted in the valley of 
Lanasca, news reached him that Gonzalo Pizarro 
and the other prisoners had bribed their guards 

* " El vencido vencido, y el Yencedor perdldo." 


and had escaped. Never was the life of Fernando 
Pizarro in greater danger. At Chincha Almagro 
again halted^ and founded a new town, which was 
called after his own name. 

Meanwhile, a favourable turn had taken place 
in the fortunes of the Marquis Pizarro, w^ho was 
at Los Reyes. Auxiliaries had now come to him 
from the different quarters to which he had ap- 
pealed for assistance. 

Almagro, having been informed of the nature 
and number of Pizarro's forces, abandoned at 
once his plan of advancing to Los Reyes. 

Pizarro's moderation and prudence were not 
abated by his growing strength in men and arms. 
(Men rather hecame his enemies than were made 
so). In obscurity at Panama, and now in power 
at Los Reyes, he is always patient, much endur- 
ing, and what is often termed weak. He now 
resisted the vehement counsels of those captains 
who were smarting from their recent defeat at the 
bridge of Aban^ay; and sought to bring the 
question between himself and Almagro to an end 
by means of arbitration. Almagro now was in a 
humble mood; and so it was agreed that the 
Provincial Bobadilla, of the Order of Mercy, 


should be appointed judge of the case ; who, with 
the assistance of " pilots," should fix the limits of 
the respective governments of New Castillo and 
New Toledo. 

Bobadilla took up his station at an Indian town 
named Mala, midway on the high road between 
Los Reyes and Chincha. 

Thither he summoned both governors to appear 
before him, each to be attended by twelve horse- 
men only. 

After the Marquis had set out, Gonzalo was 
induced by Pizarro's followers to advance with 
the army in the direction of Mala; as it was 
thought that Almagro's former treachery had put 
him beyond the pale of confidence. 

When, however, the old companions, Pizarro 
and Almagro, met, it was with such tears and 
loving words as if nothing hitherto had happened 
to disturb their amity ; and there was every pro- 
spect of their coming to terms before the sentence 
of arbitration should be pronounced. The moving 
up, however, of Gonzalo with Pizarro's army 
aroused the suspicions of Almagro's troops ; one of 
the captains brought a horse to the door where the 
Governors were conferring, and contrived to give 


notice to Almagro of the supposed stratagem ; 
upon which the Mariscal went down stairs without 
taking leave, got upon his horse, and went off 
with his friends at full gallop. 

The Marquis sent the next day to tell Almagro 
that his army had moved without his leave ; but 
it was of no avail. The arbiter, however, ordered 
certain persons who had been appointed by Al- 
magro to appear before him ; and he gave sentence 
entirely in Pizarro's favour, declaring that Cusco 
was within the two hundred and seventy-five 
leagues which the Emperor had assigned as the 
extent of Pizarro's government, and that the Ma- 
riscal should quit that territory, and go to the land 
of his own government. 

When this sentence was communicated to the 
Mariscal, he declared he would not abide by it ; 
and his men held that it was a most unrighteous 
judgment. It was, however, so much for the in- 
terest of both parties that some amicable conclu- 
sion should be arrived at, that negotiations were 
again commenced. Finally, a treaty was con- 
cluded that Fernando Pizarro should be liberated, 
Chincha evacuated ; that Cusco should be put in 
deposit until the king should decide ; that Alma- 


gro and his people should conquer the country in 
one direction, Pizarro and his in the other; lastly, 
that Pizarro should give Almagro a ship, which 
should be allowed to enter the port of Zangala or 
Chincha, wherever the vessel might happen to 

Orgoiiez was furious at this treaty being con- 
cluded ; and many of the soldiers fully agreed 
with him in the danger of setting Fernando Pi- 
zarro free. But Almagro and the friends of peace 
were not to be deterred from their resolve. Ac- 
cordingly, the Mariscal, proceeding to the place 
of Fernando Pizarro's confinement, ordered him 
to be released. Immediately they embraced, and 
Fernando Pizarro took a solemn oath, pledging 
himself to fulfil what had been agreed upon. The 
Mariscal then carried him to his house and regaled 
him splendidly. All the chief men in the army 
visited him. Afterwards they accompanied him 
about half a league from the camp, and then took 
leave of him. 

Almagro sent his son, Don Diego de Almagro, 
commonly called el mogo, — "the youth," — in com- 
pany with Fernando Pizarro to the Marquis. 
Many cavaliers also went with them. The Mar- 


quls lavished courtesies and gifts upon them, and 
paid particular attention to Almagro's son. When 
these had returned to the camp, Almagro eva- 
cuated Chincha, and marched to the valley 
of Zangala, where he began to found another 

At this time, the very day when Fernando Pi- 
zarro had been set at liberty, there suddenly 
arrived a messenger from the Court of Spain. 
His dispatches were that each of the Governors 
should retain whatever they had conquered and 
peopled, until any other arrangement should be 
made by his Majesty. 

This royal order was in the highest degree sa- 
tisfactory to the Pizarros, as it seemed to settle 
the question in the Marquis's favour with regard 
to the occupation of Cusco. Fernando Pizarro 
sought leave at this time to return to Spain and 
give an account to the Emperor of what had taken 
place in Peru ; but his brother would not con- 
sent, saying that the Emperor would be better 
served by Fernando's staying to help him, the 
Marquis, to maintain his government. 

Meanwhile, the Mariscal had, according to 
agreement, retired from Chincha, and the Mar- 


quis went there to seek provisions and to recom- 
mence the arrangements with Ahuagro, which 
would be necessary in consequence of the new 
ordinance from the Court of Spain. On the road 
to Chincha the Marquis's troops found the wells 
filled up, which they attributed to the Mariscal's 
men. When Pizarro had arrived at Chincha, he 
sent to Almagro to notify the royal orders to him, 
to which the Mariscal replied that these orders 
were in his favour, for, from where he was to 
Chincha, he had conquered and peopled the 
country, and, accordingly, he it was who was 
within the limits of his own government, and he 
begged that Pizarro would move out of it. 

There is no doubt that both sides now believed 
themselves to be wronged and affronted. Orgonez 
and his party, no doubt, clamoured loudly about 
the perfidy of the Pizarros. No sooner had a 
treaty been settled than these Pizarros hastened 
to recommence hostilities. This came of inju- 
dicious clemency. 

On the other side, the conduct of the Alma- 
gristas was stigmatized by Pizarro's partisans in 
the harshest terms. The word they used was 
^^ tyranny," taken in the old Greek sense of the 


unlawful seizure of sovereignty ; and to punish 
such tyranny, the whole of Pizarro's army moved 
forwards. The Mariscal, being made aware of 
this by his spies, withdrew to Guaytdra, a pass in 
the sierra, so difficult, that to surmount it was 
considered equivalent to passing a great river 
three times. Pizarro's troops followed the Alma- 
gristas ; but the latter looked upon their position 
as impregnable. 

Fernando Pizarro, however (probably the great- 
est captain of his time in this kind of warfare), 
looked nly to where the difficulty was greatest, 
and where, therefore, the care of the enemy would 
be least ; and this was where the body of Spanish 
troops was posted on the height. Early one 
evening Fernando Pizarro, taking with him three 
hundred of his most active men, made for this part 
of the sierra. At the foot of it they dismounted, 
and they had now a league of mountain to ascend 
— all of it sheer ascent. Moreover, Almagro's 
captain was informed of their enterprise (the Al- 
magristas were much better served by spies than 
the other party); and he and his men waited for 
Fernando Pizarro, considering him to be a lost 
man. The Marquis stayed at the foot of the 


sierra, intending to follow if Fernando Pizarro 
should gain the pass. And the pass was gained. 
With darkness alone to aid them, heavily encum- 
bered with arms and armour, being obliged some- 
times to climb the more precipitous parts on their 
hands and knees, the Indians hurling down great 
stones upon them, sometimes sinking in the sand 
in such a way that instead of moving forwards 
they slid down again, they still contrived to reach 
the summit. It was an arduous task for Fernando 
Pizarro, a heavy man with ponderous armour, 
totally unaccustomed to go on foot ; but his ex- 
ertions were so strenuous as to astonish all be- 
holders. It happened that five or six of Pizarro's 
soldiers gained the height at the same moment. 
They shouted " Viva el Eey ! " with such vigour 
that the enemy, supposing the whole of the army 
was upon them, were panic-stricken, and fled at 
once. To show the difficult nature of this pass, 
it may be mentioned that it was midday before 
the whole three hundred reached the summit. 
Fernando Pizarro was greatly delighted with the 
success of his enterprise, and held it to be a happy 
omen for the future. The Marquis, with the rest 
of the troops, were now able at their ease to sur- 


mount the pass. Almagro and his troops re- 
treated, and Pizarro's forces moved onwards in an 
irregular and disjointed manner, being informed 
that Ahuagro was making his way to Cusco. 
After a few days' march, they arrived at the 
highest point of a barren w aste, where it rained and 
snowed much, and the forces were so scattered 
that on that night they had only two hundred 
men together. 

Now it happened that on that very night the 
Almagristas were much nearer to Pizarro's men 
than these imagined. Indeed, Almagro's camp 
was not more than a league off, and he w^as very 
much bent upon making an attack upon Pizarro's 
forces. His reason for this was that a large part 
of the Marquis's men were new comers, and it 
was well known that in the snowy w^astes of 
Peru all strangers were apt to suffer from snow- 
sickness, experiencing the same sensations as if 
they were at sea ; * but Orgonez, for once in his 
life cautious, and (as mostly happens when a man 
acts or advises against the bent of his own dis- 
position) acting wrongly, dissuaded Almagro from 

* " Se marean como en uii golfo de mar." 


an enterprise which would probably have been 
fatal to the enemy. 

As day broke, Pizarro's army saw the situation 
in which they were, and Fernando Pizarro, whose 
valour never left his wisdom far behind, coun- 
selled instant retreat. Their march had hitherto 
been but a disorderly pursuit, whereas the enemy's 
forces were in a state of good preparation for im- 
mediate action. The Marquis listened to his 
brother's advice, and the army retreated to the 
valley of lea to recruit themselves. Then the 
principal captains besought Pizarro to return to 
Los Reyes, as, on account of his age, they said, 
he was unfit to endure the labours of such a cam- 
paign. The Governor consented; and, leaving 
Fernando Pizarro as his representative, returned 
to Los Reyes. 


Fernando Pizarro marches to Cusco — The Battle of Salinas 
— The Execution of the Mariscal Almagro — Return of 
Fernando Pizarro to Spain. 

in full command, resolved that with 
those who would follow him, whether 
they were many or whether they were few, he 
would go and take possession of that city of Cusco 
which he had lost. Marching to the valley of 
Lanasca, he halted there and reviewed his men. 

Almagro, on the other hand retired to Cusco, 
where he made the most vigorous preparations to 
withstand the coming attack of Fernando Pizarro. 
In Cusco nothing was heard but the sound of 
trumpets summoning to reviews, and the hammer- 
ing of silver on the anvil, for of that metal it was 


that they made their corselets, morions, and arm- 
pieces, which they rendered, by using double the 
quantity of silver that they would have of iron, as 
strong " as if they had come from Milan." They 
resolved to await the attack of Fernando Pizarro 
within the city, fortifying it towards that part of 
the river where the defences were weak. 

Meanwhile Fernando Pizarro was advancing 
slowly to Cusco, being so watchful that his men 
marched in their armour. Having arrived at a 
place called Acha, he rested there five days, for 
his men to recover from their fatigue. After- 
wards, he proceeded to a spot where there were 
three roads, and, to deceive the enemy's scouts, 
he proceeded to pitch his camp there. Then, 
when information had been carried to Orgonez, 
who hastened to occupy a certain pass, Fernando 
Pizarro ordered the tents to be struck, marched 
the whole night, and occupied the pass at which 
the enemy had thought to stop him. Almagro's 
captains now changed their plan of remaining in 
the city. All that day Fernando Pizarro expected 
to meet his enemies in a great plain, which there 
is three leagues from Cusco, and, as he did 
not find them, he left the royal road with the 


intent of placing himself on an elevated spot 
in those plains, which are called the Salt Pits 

Orgonez now moved his own camp to a spot 
three quarters of a league from the city, between 
a sierra and a river. He himself occupied the 
plain with all his cavalry, who wore white vests 
over their armour. 

Fernando Pizarro also made his preparation for 
battle. Over his armour he put on a surcoat or 
vest (^ropeta) of orange damask, and in his morion 
a tall white feather, which floated over the heads 
of all. He did this, not only that he might be 
known by his own men, but by those of the op- 
posite side, to whom, it is said, he sent notice of 
his dress. He had received indignities when in 
prison, and was anxious to meet his personal 
enemies in the field. He now first sent forward a 
notary to make a formal requisition that the city 
of Cusco should be delivered up to him ; then he 
approached the spot where the enemy had pitched 
their camp. 

We should judge but poorly of these combats 
in Spanish America, if we estimated them accord- 
ing to the smallness of the number of men engaged 


on each side, and not according to the depth and 
amount of human emotion which they elicited. 
There was more passion in the two little armies 
now set over against each other than is to be found 
in vast hosts of hireling soldiers combating for 
objects which they scarcely understand. I have 
no doubt the hatred in these bands of Almagristas 
and Pizarristas greatly exceeded anything that 
was to be found in the ranks of the French and 
Spaniards that fought at Pavia. 

No answer was vouchsafed by Orgonez to the 
formal demand ma^e by Pizarro's notary for the 
cession of Cusco ; and the battle commenced by 
Almagro's artillery beginning to play upon the 
advancino; Pizarristas. At the first discharo-e it 
took off two of Fernando Pizarro's foot-soldiers, 
but the whole body of the infantry pressed on. 
Orgonez drew his men back behind a little hill, 
not from a motive of fear, but with the design 
of letting some of the troops on the other side 
pass the river. Almagro, who was too ill to 
enter into the battle himself, but was watching it 
from a distance in a litter, construed this movement 
most unfavourably for his own fortunes. De- 
scending from his litter he got on horseback, and 


rode off to Cusco, where he retreated into the 

The cavalry on both sides were soon mingled 
in a hand-to-hand encounter ; and Fernando Pi- 
zarro, well known to his enemies^ was conspicuous 
in the melee, Pedro de Lerma, with all the fury 
of a traitor and a renegade, was the first to make 
his way where that white plume towered above 
the rest, and to bear down upon its owner. 
His lance, however, only struck Pizarro's horse 
in the neck, and drove it down upon its knees, 
but the more skilful Fernando pierced his ad- 
versary with his lance. Pedro de Lerma was, 
however, but one of many who had resolved on 
that day to chastise the insolence, as they would 
have said, of Fernando Pizarro. Though dis- 
mounted, Fernando was not injured, and drawing 
his sword he fou2:ht with his usual valour. 

In the meantime the movement of Orgonez's 
cavalry had laid open his infantry to a charge 
from the infantry of the Pizarristas under Gon- 
zalo Pizarro, which proved most effective; and 
this charge was the turning point of the engage- 
ment. They fairly turned and fled up the sierra, 
eagerly pursued by Gonzalo, who feared lest the 


fugitives should make themselves strong in 

Most of the worsted cavaliers were taken pri- 
soners, being protected by persons who knew 
them, and were brought before Fernando Pizarro, 
who, not listening to private vengeance, in his 
clemency spared them all. 

Orgonez lay dead upon the field. Fernando 
Pizarro sent Alonzo de Alvarado to take the 
Mariscal prisoner. He was conducted to the 
same apartment in which he had formerly con- 
fined Fernando Pizarro, and a promise was given 
him that he should be kindly treated and justice 
well considered in his case. Access to him was 
not denied, until it was found that he was endea- 
vouring to gain over Pizarro's captains. A formal 
process was instituted against him, which took 
nearly four months in its preparation. 

This battle of Salinas was fought on the 6th of 
April, 1538, five years and a-half after Francisco 
Pizarro had first marched to meet Atahuallpa at 

Fernando Pizarro went to the extreme of gra- 
ciousness in his conduct to the vanquished. He 
employed a number of Almagro's soldiers, and 


sent them on different expeditions. The com- 
mander of one of these, Pedro de Candia, was 
won over by some of these soldiers to contemplate 
returning to Cusco to release Almagro 

Within the city, too, there was treachery. 
Fernando Pizarro learned that there were two 
hundred persons banded together to release the 
imprisoned Mariscal ; and, moreover, these had 
posted friends of theirs at difficult passes on the 
road to Los Reyes, in order that they might set 
Almagro at liberty, if Fernando Pizarro should 
send him to Spain, there to be judged by the 
Emperor. Then there came a letter from a man 
named Villacastin, an alcalde of Cusco, who had 
gone out to visit the Indians, which had been 
given in encomienda to him. This man had met 
with Pedro de Candia's people, had been ill-treated 
by them, and had heard of their intention to resist 
Gonzalo Pizarro, who had been sent out to compel 
them to proceed on their expedition. 

Pizarro now summoned a council of the reo:i- 
dors, alcaldes, and some of the captains of best 
repute for judgment, and who appeared to him 
most dispassionate, and begged them to counsel 
him, as men of honour and good judgment, what 


ought to be done, that his Majesty might be 
served and the city maintained in peace ; and lest 
any of them should not give their opinions in his 
presence with perfect freedom, he would prefer 
to go out of the council ; but what they should 
advise he would carry out. The council came 
to the decision that, deserving death as Almagro 
did, the lesser evil would be to pass sentence 
upon him and to execute the sentence, since, if 
this were not done, a great mischief was im- 
pending over them. Great was the anguish of the 
old decrepit Mariscal upon the sentence of death 
being notified to him. He at once appealed from 
Fernando Pizarro to the Emperor, but Fernando 
would not allow this appeal to be received. He 
then besought him, in the most piteous manner, to 
spare his life, urging, as a plea for mercy, the great 
part he had taken in the early fortunes of Fer- 
nando's brother, the Marquis, reminding him also 
of his own (Fernando's) release, and that no blood 
of the Pizarro family had been shed by him. 
Lastly, he bade him consider how old, weak, and 
infirm he was, and begged that he would allow 
the appeal to go on to the Emperor, so that he 
might spend in prison the few and sorrowful days 


which remained for him, to mourn over his sins. 
This Fernando Pizarro refused. He said that, 
though Almagro's crimes had been very great, he 
would not have sentenced him, but would have 
sent him to the Emperor, had not the conspi- 
racies of his partisans been such as to prevent 
that course. Then he told him that he wondered 
that a man of such valour should show this fear of 
death. To which the other replied, that since our 
Lord Jesus Christ feared death, it was not much 
that he, a man and a sinner, should fear it. But 
Fernando Pizarro would not recede from his pur- 
pose, though, it is said, he felt the greatest pity 
for Almagro. Pizarro having quitted the apart- 
ment, Almagro made his confession ; and being 
counselled, as his estate was forfeited for treason, 
to leave it by will to the Emperor, he did so. 
His worldly and his spiritual affairs being thus 
settled, he was strangled in prison, in order to 
avoid any outbreak which a public execution 
might have caused in Cusco. That there might 
be no doubt, however, of his death, the body was 
shown in the great square, with the head cut off. 
This was on the 8th of July, 1538. 

Thus died Almagro, at the age of sixty-five 


years. Like his partner^ the Marquis, he was a 
natural son, brought up in ignorance, — for he 
could not read. He had all the gifts of a first- 
rate common soldier, but seems to have had no 
especial ability as a commander. Profusely and 
splendidly generous, he had the art of attaching 
men to him who were far greater than himself 
in most things; and these attachments did not 
die out at his death. As men are seldom really 
attracted to other men but by some great quality, 
Almagro's generosity must have been of that deep 
nature which goes far beyond gifts, and where 
the recipient perceives that his benefactor loves 
as well as benefits him. In watching the career 
of Almagro, it is necessary to account in some 
such way for the singular affection which he uni- 
formly inspired. 

As for Fernando Pizarro, it is most probable 
that, in this matter, which has darkened his name 
with posterity, he had no other intention at first 
but that of sending Almagro to Spain for judg- 
ment. But the unwise endeavours of Almagro's 
own people made it seem a duty to the stern 
Fernando to put the Mariscal to death ; and Fer- 
nando Pizarro was a man of that mould, upon 


which the speeches of other men, past, present, 
and to come, would have but little influence. He 
probably foresaw that he would be severely con- 
demned for this transaction, and, far from being 
deterred on that account, would resolutely beware 
of giving way to any feeling for his own reputa- 
tion, which might be detrimental to the public 
service. His conduct, however, on this occasion, 
is one of those things which can never be made 
clear, and where a man, let him have acted from 
what good motive he may, must go down to 
posterity with a grievous stain upon his reputa- 

This execution, like most cruelties, did not en- 
sure the desired object: it did not prove final; 
but, on the contrary, formed a fresh starting- 
point for calamities of still deeper dye. 

As on Atahuallpa's death, so on that of the 
Mariscal, the funeral rites due to his dignity were 
not forgotten. Pizarro's captains were the sup- 
porters of Almagro's bier. He was interred 
very honourably in the church of '^ Our Lady of 
Mercy ; " and the brothers Fernando and Gonzalo 
Pizarro put on mourning in honour of the Maris- 
cal of Peru. 


As if to show how little the shedding of blood 
avails, the funeral rites were no sooner ended than 
the King's officers who had served under Almagro, 
namely, the Treasurer, the Contador, and the Vee- 
dor, made a formal intimation to Fernando Pizarro 
that the government now belonged to them, and 
they required him to quit that country. To this 
audacious requisition, which was merely reopening 
a question which had been settled as Fernando 
Pizarro thought, he replied by seizing upon their 
persons, and then went out immediately to quell 
the mutineers under Pedro de Candia. For this 
purpose he took with him eighty horsemen. Many 
of the mutineers, when they heard the news of 
Almagro's death, and of Fernando's approach, 
fled ; and the captains came out of the camp to 
receive Fernando Pizarro. With his usual digni- 
fied bravery, when he was within half a league of 
them, he left his guard behind, and approached 
the opposite party, attended only by an alguazil 
and a notary. He then took the necessary infor- 
mations, and, ascertaining that a captain of his 
own, named De Mesa, had been the ringleader of 
the revolt, he caused him to be immediately exe- 
cuted, while he sent Pedro de Candia, with some 


others of the principal captains, to the Marquis, 
his brother. 

On that same day, Fernando Pizarro busied 
himself in giving liberty to many Indian men and 
women, whom Pedro de Candia's people had 
brought as prisoners in chains ; and he also pro- 
vided for their return to their own lands, for 
w^hich the poor Indians were very grateful, giving 
thanks to their gods, and praising Fernando Pi- 
zarro. He appointed Pedro de An9urez as captain 
in Pedro de Candia's room ; and, still fearing for 
the welfare of the Indians, Fernando himself ac- 
companied the expedition. " For," as it is said, 
^^ as he went with them, they did not dare to do 
any mischief to the peaceable natives, nor to seize 
them, nor to put them in bonds." It is impossible 
not to give Fernando Pizarro credit for a stern 
sense of duty, when we find him ready to offend 
friends and enemies alike, by acts which could 
only have been dictated by natural goodness of 
heart, or by his regard for the orders he had re- 
ceived from the home government, on behalf of the 
Indians, when he was in Spain. 

Fernando Pizarro had sent the young Almagro, 
commonly called ^^ Almagro el mogo^^ to the Mar- 


quis^ who did not fail to give the young man 
comforting assurances respecting his father's life. 
After a time, the Marquis, thinking that it would 
be necessary for him to set affairs in order at 
Cusco, as Fernando Pizarro was going to Spain, 
proceeded from Los Reyes to that city. It was 
not until he reached the bridge of Aban9ay that 
he heard of the condemnation and execution of 
Almagro. Casting down his eyes, he remained 
for a long time looking on the ground, and weep- 
ing. There have been writers who supposed that 
the Marquis had sanctioned Almagro's death ; but 
there is no ground whatever for such a supposi- 
tion, and there is no doubt that the tears shed by 
him for his old comrade were tears of genuine 
sorrow. Had he left Los Reyes earlier, the mis- 
chief would have been averted. When he reached 
Cusco, the Marquis found both his brothers absent, 
as they were engaged in an important expedition 
amongst the Indians in the vicinity of the great 
lake of Titicaca. After his return from this en- 
terprise, Fernando Pizarro quitted Peru for Spain, 
in order to give his Majesty an account of what 
had taken place ; but several friends of Almagro, 
amongst them Diego de Alvarado, to whom Al- 


mao^ro had committed the execution of his last 
wishes, had reached Spain before Fernando Pi- 
zarro. A suit was instituted against Fernando ; 
and Diego de Alvarado challenged him to mortal 
combat, which was prevented by the sudden death 
of the challenger. Fernando Pizarro, however, 
was not freed from the suit. One of the principal 
charges against him was his having given liberty 
to Manco Inca, which was alleged to have been 
the cause of the Indian revolt. In this matter, 
however, he was only so far to blame that he had 
been indulgent to the Inca, and had permitted 
him to go out of the city of Cusco to make certain 
sacrifices to his father. For the death of Almagro, 
which was the next great charge against Fer- 
nando Pizarro, his motives have been already 
given. Fernando Pizarro failed, however, to 
exculpate himself; and, being deprived of the 
habit of Santiago, he was detained in prison at 
Medina del Campo for twenty-three years. Being 
at last freed, he retired to his estate in the 
country, where he died, having attained the great 
age of one hundred years. It was a melancholy 
ending for so renowned a man, and one who, to 
the best of his ability and understanding, had 


laboured largely for the Crown. Still, it must be 
admitted that the events which followed in Peru 
formed a standing condemnation of the harshness 
of his conduct in prohibiting the appeal of Alma- 
gro to the Emperor, a harshness which in his long 
years of durance (how wearisome to so impatient 
a spirit !) he must have had ample time to under- 
stand and to regret. 


The Marquis and the Men of Chili — Gonzalo Pizarro 
discovers the Amazon — The Conspiracy of Almagro's 
Friends — The Marquis Pizarro is murdered hy the Men 
of Chili. 

HE Marquis now remained the sole 
posessor of supreme authority through- 
out the empire of Peru. His brother 
Fernando, fearing lest Almagro's son should prove 
a centre of faction, had, before his departure, 
urged the Marquis to send the young man to 
Spain ; but Pizarro did not listen to this prudent 
advice. Neither was his treatment of the con- 
quered party judicious in other respects. Not 
knowing the maxim of Machiavelli, that in such 
cases it is better to destroy than to impoverish, 
Pizarro left Almagro's men, the men of Chili, in 


poverty and idleness; but scorned to persecute 
them. Finding, however, that they resorted to 
the house of young Almagro, the Marquis was 
persuaded by his counsellors to deprive him of his 
Indians. The men of Chili fell into the most 
abject poverty, and there is a story that seven of 
them, who messed together, had only one cloak 
among them. And these were men who had been 
accustomed to command, who had known many 
vicissitudes of prosperity and adversity, and were 
not likely to accept any misfortune as if it were 
final. One attempt Pizarro made to aid and 
favour these dangerous persons, but his overtures 
were then coldly rejected by them. They were 
waiting, with a patient desire for vengeance, the 
arrival of a judge from Spain, named Vaca de 
Castro, from whom they expected the condemna- 
tion of those who had been concerned in the death 
of Almagro. 

Meanwhile the Marquis pursued his course of 
conquering new territories and founding new 
cities. He despatched Pedro de Valdivia to 
Chili, and he, succeeding where Almagro failed, 
has always been considered the conqueror of that 
country. The Marquis sent his brother Gonzalo 


to the southern district of CoUao, conquered that 
territory in which lay the mines of PotosI, and 
gave rich repartimientos to his brothers, Gonzalo 
and Martin, and their followers. 

After all his conquests, it was but a strip of 
sea-board that Pizarro occupied and governed, 
when compared with the boundless regions of 
South America, even to this day but sparsely 
occupied or ruled over by civilized man. The 
Marquis, however, now originated an enterprise, 
which, leading men to the eastern side of the 
Andes, was to make them acquainted with regions 
of the New World far more extensive than had 
ever yet been discovered in any single enterprise 
by land. There was a region where cinnamon- 
trees were known to abound, and it was into this 
cinnamon country, neighbouring to Quito, that 
the Marquis sent his brother Gonzalo, at the 
end of the year 1539.. In order to facilitate 
the enterprise, the Marquis bestowed on his 
brother the government of Quito. Gonzalo set 
out from Quito in January, 1540, with three hun- 
dred Spaniards and four thousand Indians. The 
sufferings the expedition went through, even from 
the commencement of the march, were intense. 


Nevertheless, with the patience and perseverance 
of a Pizarro, Gonzalo toiled on, being always fore- 
most in the work, whether it was cutting down 
timber, making charcoal, or labouring at the forge. 
At last they came to a large river; and there 
they resolved to build a brigantine, and launch it 
upon the waters. They now thought their labours 
were over : G onzalo manned the brigantine with 
fifty soldiers, placing at their head a captain of 
good repute, Francisco de Orellana. They had 
learned from some Indians that, ten days' journey 
down, this river joined another large river. The 
brigantine was to go down to this point, leave 
there the sick and the baggage, and return with 
provisions for the main body of the expedition. 
The voyage was commenced, but Orellana never 
returned to them. He stole off with the bri- 
gantine and, proceeding down the river, was the 
first to traverse that vast continent. At the 
end of his voyage of two thousand five hundred 
miles, he found himself in the Atlantic, nearly 
at the same degree of latitude at which he had 

Meanwhile Gonzalo, finding Orellana did not 
return, constructed some canoes and rafts, and 


journeying partly by land, and partly by water, 
contrived in two months to reach the junction of 
the rivers, where he learned the treachery of 
Orellana from a Spaniard he had put ashore there. 
This great river, now known by the name of the 
Amazon, was then called, after its discoverer, 
the Orellana. The honour and fame of the 
discovery belongs really to the Pizarros, to the 
Marquis, — the old discoverer of Peru, who 
had pondered so long upon what Comogre's 
son had to tell of the riches of the south, — 
for originating the enterprise, and to Gonzalo 
next, by whose much-enduring perseverance the 
expedition was led on, through so much difficulty, 
to its banks. 

But, while Gonzalo was in these straits, robbed 
by Orellana of fame, and left almost to perish 
from want, his brother and chief was in still 
greater peril at Los Reyes. His untiring enemies, 
the men of Chili, were all this time unsoothed and 
discontented, and therefore dangerous. The head 
of the defeated faction was a resolute and clever 
soldier, Juan de Eada, who had been major-domo 
in the household of the Mariscal. This man took 
the young Almagro, a youth of eighteen or nine- 


teen, under his guardianship, and entirely managed 
the affairs of the men of Chili. 

They were now doubly disappointed and dis 
contented, because they had found that the judge 
whom they were expecting from Spain, to avenge 
the death of Almagro and to do justice to his 
cause, was not entrusted with powers to con- 
demn, but only with a commission to inquire, 
and to transmit the result of his inquiries to 
Spain. They had hoped to find an avenger in 

The men of Chili were no longer few in number. 
There had gradually come into Los Reyes about 
two hundred of them, — needy, disfavoured, dis- 
contented men. Insults began to be interchanged 
between the rival factions, — insults, as mostly 
happened in these colonies, of a grotesque and 
dramatic nature. One day, early in the morning, 
the populace of Los Reyes were amused by seeing 
three ropes suspended in the public pillory in the 
great square. The upper end of one rope was so 
placed as to point to the Marquis's palace, while 
the house of his secretary, Juan Picado, and that 
of his alcalde mayor. Doctor Velazquez, were 
pointed at in a similar manner by the ends of the 


other two ropes. The Marquis's friends saw in this 
insult the handiwork of the men of Chili, and begged 
the Marquis to punish them. The good-natured 
Pizarro said that they already were suflSciently 
punished in being poor, and conquered, and ridden 
over. The Spanish blood of his followers, how- 
ever, could not brook the insult they had received, 
or desist from attempting to reply to it. Ac- 
cordingly, the populace of Los Reyes were again 
amused by seeing Antonio Picado ride through 
the street where the young Almagro lived, wear- 
ing a cap adorned with a gold medal that had a 
silver fig embossed upon it, and a motto in these 
words, " For the men of Chili." Great w^as the 
wrath of the followers of Almagro at this absurd 

The rumour that the men of Chili meditated 
something desperate was rife even among the In- 
dians, and the Marquis's friends warned him of 
his danger. Besides, it was noticed that Juan de 
Rada was buying a coat of mail. On the other 
hand, it was observed by the men of Chili that 
Pizarro had been purchasing lances. 

Juan de Rada was sent for by Pizarro. The 
Governor was in his garden, looking at ^ome orange- 


trees, when the leader of the men of Chili called 

upon him. ^^ What is this, Juan de Eada/' said 

the Marquis, ^^ that they tell me, of your buying 

arms to kill me ? " " It is true, my lord, that I 

have bought two cuirasses and a coat of mail to 

defend myself." ^^Well," replied the Marquis, 

" but what moves you to buy armour now, more 

than at any other time ? " " Because they tell us, 

and it is notorious, that your lordship is buying 

lances to slay us all. Let your lordship finish 

with us ; for, having commenced by destroying 

the head, I do not know why you should have 

any respect for the feet. It is also said that 

your lordship intends to slay the judge who is 

coming from Spain; but, if your intention is 

such, and you are determined to put to death 

the party of Almagro, at least spare Don Diego, 

for he is innocent. Banish him, and I will go 

with him wherever fortune may please to carry 


The Marquis was enraged at these words. 

'^ Who has made you believe such great villainy 

and treachery of me?" he exclaimed; "I never 

thought of such a thing, and I am more desirous 

than you that this judge should come, who already 


would be here, if he had embarked in the galleon 
I sent for him. As to the story of the spears, the 
other day I went hunting, and amongst the whole 
party there was not one who had a spear. I 
ordered my servants to buy one ; and they have 
bought four. Would to God, Juan de Rada, 
the judge were here, so that these things might 
have an end, and that God may make the truth 
manifest ! " 

" By heaven, my lord ! " replied Juan de Eada, 
somewhat softened by the Governor's response, 
'^ but they have made me get into debt for more 
than five hundred pesos^ which I have spent in 
buying armour, and so I have a coat of mail to 
defend myself against whoever may wish to slay 
me." " Please God, Juan de Rada, I shall do 
nothing of the kind," responded the Marquis. 
The conference ended thus, and Juan de Rada 
was going, when Pizarro's jester, who was stand- 
ing by, said, ^^ Why don't you give him some of 
these oranges?" As they were the first that 
were grown in that country, they were much 
esteemed. ^^ You say well," replied the Marquis ; 
and he gathered six of them, and gave them to 
Juan de Rada, adding that he should tell him if 


he wanted anything. They then separated ami- 
cably^ Juan de Rada kissing the Governor's hands 
as he took leave. 

This interview reassured Pizarro, but did not 
divert the conspirators from their designs. Again 
and again Pizarro was warned. Twice he received 
intelligence from a certain clerigo in whom one of 
the conspirators had confided. Others gave the 
Marquis the same information, but he contented 
himself with giving orders, in a lukewarm manner, 
to his alcalde mayor to arrest the principal men of 
Chili. This officer replied, that his lordship need 
have no fear as long as he held the rod of office in 
his hand. 

The next day was Sunday, June 26, 1541. 
Pizarro did not go to mass, probably from some 
fear of being attacked. When mass was ended the 
principal inhabitants called upon the Marquis; but, 
after paying their respects, went away, leaving him 
with his brother Martin, his alcalde mayor, and 
Francisco de Chaves, an intimate friend. 

Meanwhile the conspirators were collected to- 
gether in the house of Don Diego Almagro. No- 
thing was resolved upon as to the day on which 
they were to make the attack, and Juan de Rada 


was sleeping, when a certain Pedro de San Millan 
entered, and exclaimed, ^^ What are you about ? 
In two hours' time they are coming to cut us 
to pieces, for so the treasurer Kiquelme has just 
said." This was probably a version of the fact that 
Pizarro had ordered the arrest of the principal 

There is a strong family-likeness in conspiracies. 
For a time there is much indecision, until some 
imminent peril to the conspirators hastens the re- 
sult, and determines the hour of the deed. Juan 
de Rada sprang from his bed, armed himself, and 
addressed a short speech to his followers, urging 
them to avenge the death of Almagro, to aspire 
to dominion in Peru, and, if these motives weighed 
not with them, at least to strike a blow in order 
to protect themselves against a pressing danger. 
This speech was received with acclamations, and 
immediate action was resolved upon. The first 
thing the conspirators did was to hang out a 
white flag from the window, as a signal to their 
accomplices that they must arm and come to their 
assistance. They then sallied forth. It is pro- 
bable, as it was mid-day, that there were not 
many persons in the streets or in the great square. 


The conspirators shouted ^^ Down with the tyrant 
traitor who has caused the judge to be killed 
whom the King has sent." The few persons who 
noticed the march of this furious band merely 
observed to one another, " They are going to kill 
PIcado or the Marquis." As they entered the 
great square, one of them, named Gomez Perez, 
made a slight detour. In order to avoid a little 
pool of water, which by chance had been spilt 
there from some conduit. Juan de Rada splashed 
through the pool, went straight to the dainty 
person, and said to him, " We are going to bathe 
ourselves In human blood, and you hesitate to dip 
your feet In water. You are not a man for this 
business: go back." Nor did he suffer him to 
proceed further. 

The conspirators gained the house of PIzarro 
without opposition. It was strong, having two 
courts and a great gate. The Marquis was not 
entirely surprised. His brother Martin, the al- 
calde Doctor Velazquez, and Francisco de Chaves, 
had dined with him. The dinner was just over, 
when some of his Indians rushed In to give him 
notice of the approach of the men of Chill. He 
ordered Francisco de Chaves to shut to the door 


of the hall, and of the apartment in which they 
were. That officer, supposing that it was some 
riot among the soldiers, which his authority would 
quell, went out to meet them, and found the con- 
spirators coming up the staircase. They fell upon 
him at once, slew him, and threw the body down 
the stairs. Those who were in the dining hall, 
chiefly servants, rushed out to ascertain what was 
the matter; but, seeing Francisco de Chaves 
lying dead, fled back, and threw themselves out 
of the window, which opened upon the garden. 
Amongst them was Doctor Velazquez, who, as he 
leaped from the window, held his wand of office 
in his mouth ; so that it was afterwards jestingly 
said, that he was right in telling his master 
the Marquis that he was safe as long as he. 
Doctor Velazquez, held the rod of office in his 

The conspirators pressed through the hall to the 
room where the Marquis himself was. He had 
found time to throw off* his purple robe, to put on 
a cuirass, and to seize a spear. In this extremity 
there were by his side his half-brother, Francis 
Martin de Alcantara, a gentleman named Don 
Gomez de Luna (not hitherto mentioned), and 


two pages. Pizarro was then about seventy 
years old. He had commanded small companies 
of Spaniards^ making head on the field against 
innumerable Indians, and had felt no doubt about 
the result. But now, with two men and two 
lads, he had to contend for his life against nine- 
teen practised soldiers. The heroic courage of 
the Marquis did not desert him at this last 
moment. He fought valiantly, while he de- 
nounced, in the boldest words, the treachery and 
the villainy of his assailants. They only ex- 
claimed : — ^^ Kill him ! kill him ! let us not waste 
our time." Thus the mortal contest raged for a 
short period. At length Juan de Rada thrust one 
of his companions forward upon Pizarro's spear, 
and gained an entrance into the room. The com- 
bat was now soon closed. Martin de Alcantara, 
Don Gomez de Luna, and the two pages, fell 
slain by the side of Pizarro, who still continued to 
defend himself. At last, a wound in the throat 
brought him to the ground. While lying there, 
he made the sign of a cross upon the ground, and 
kissed it. He was still alive, and was asking for 
a confessor, when some base fellow dashed a jug 
upon his prostrate face ; and, on receiving that 


contemptible blow, the patient endurer of weari- 
some calamities, the resolute discoverer of long- 
hidden lands, the stern conqueror of a powerful 
nation, breathed his last. 




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